Watermelon in a Dry, Dry Place

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Emery County, Utah.

People’s favorite melons are the ones that ripen first.
When you crack open the melons or the tour buses or the truck stops the moistness comes trickling out.

The bus came via I-70, I-15 from L.A., the green Han character on the side packed together all the meaning which was visible on that side of the parking lot:

flow/stream; place + person = flags waving; to swim, to float, to wade…

flowing stream of swimming, floating persons wading through places of waving flags…

“TOUR,” it said. Damn it, Chinese is a fine language. Past that thick rind of recognition is all the juice of centuries.

“游”… from the oracle bones of the Shang Dynasty to the brush strokes of the Opium Wars to the refitted Greyhound bus with California plates parked in the truck stop across from the watermelon stand.

People’s favorite melons are the ones that ripen first.
Have you ever seen a tongue preparing the lips with a perversely wet massage while the rest of the body dried and cracked and blistered under the Panama hat of a middle-aged father from Guangzhou? In Utah?
Thinking of the Cantonese watermelons, the Yellow River watermelons, all the watermelons of home, while his children browsed the Chinese-made National Park souvenirs and Native American toys in the air-conditioned building.

The thick rind obstinate, preserving the water inside for you.
Before we could tame deserts we needed to tame the melon.
People’s favorite melons are the ones that ripen first.

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