Oil Futures

Silt. Rifle. Parachute. Everywhere
along the Colorado River, between
the tank farms and the drilling rigs,
the sand-and-gravel strip mines and
the clustered dream homes dropped
on buttes and mesas, globe willows
and cottonwoods pose for photographs
showing how the river looked before
asphalt and plastic made scenery passé.

At the El Palomino Motel on North
Avenue in Grand Junction, chrome-
studded pick-up trucks with names
like Yukon, Avalanche and Silverado
surround the oval concrete island
where the empty swimming pool
reflects the setting sun. “Halliburton,”
beams the manager. “Full occupancy.
More workers rolling in every day.”

After dark, a red No Vacancy blazes
beneath the white outline of a rearing
palomino on the motel sign, a relic
from the 1950s, before Interstate 70
bypassed the business district. Voices
hang in the heavy air. ¿Dónde trabajo?
asks one. Where did you work? Cantarell,
comes the response. No el petróleo esta
agotando. But the oil is running out.

[Published in Windfall]