chusi misses home.
says it doesn't rain enough,
that the sky here is too stingy,
the ground always thirsty.
she says the land makes her feel barren.
she cries when we take her to the canyons.
she says that where she comes from, they
believe hell is made not of fire and brimstone,
but rock and sand, bone dry,
eternity for the damned is a desert.
she wants to know why we brought her here.
chusi dresses like the water tribes back home,
hair in half a dozen braids, hanging long down her back,
leather sandals and long skirts. her legs are strong.
made for swimming, she says,
not navigating jagged wastelands.
we found her sitting in the fountain
in aunt caroline's back garden,
her skirt floating around her like a lily pad,
her fingers grasping at the plaster bottom,
searching for soil.
chusi misses water,
says she's drying up here.
she braids her hair by the fountain,
and talks about the swollen bases
of the cypress trees back home.