Joseph Mains

West Texas town. Mouth-dry

you say you’re from.

Church-dark: hanging ghosts

voice like pear & pine.

The distance keeps folding

sometimes at my feet the echo

is you.


Joseph Mains was born in the Sonoran desert. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he co-curates the reading series Bad Blood.

“In Arizona, in the Sonoran desert, I remember sitting on my front porch late in summer every year. It’s the time of year the air curdles and gets heavy and everyone waits to see what type of monsoon is coming—there’s a few different ones: windy & large rain that falls for ten minutes and creates flash floods; duststorms that leave a moonscaped valley floor; electrical storms that ignite fires and snap old large trees. From the southeast, a massive pillar of grey cloud comes in late afternoon. Squinting away the sun’s reflection still. The winds pick up and the storm’s still fifty miles out. If you can smell the creosote, it means rain. If your skin drys, dust. Sometimes you can hear the thunder before you see lightening and your brother’s hauling you inside.”