Houston Dispatch

Shanhu Lee

A highway over another highway

Crosses like a braided bread.

Wild oak trees on the street covered 

By dust and ozone and nitrogen oxides.

Old white van sits at the Moody Tower,

Dignified in the burning sunset.

Inside the van, steamy temperature 98 F.

We installed three AC units

And 12 box fans to circulate the stagnant air.

Scroll pumps cry aloud and stop.

Even stainless steel TRACERs cannot take this heat.

But we survived one week, then another week.

In God’s hands – we say every evening 

When we leave the trailer in the dark.

Head to the America’s Best Value Inn,

A cheap motel near the Medical Center.

Here AC runs violently, feels like the Arctic.

Strangers shout and spit and smoke

At night at the parking lot outside of our rooms

In the middle of this insane September.

Two more weeks to go until we pack

Our things and drive back to Huntsville.

Until then, we say: everything is 

In God’s hands. On this God’s land.


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