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Postcard for Arizona

Jeff Burt | Kristy Lankford

Cori stepped into the desert in the winter in Arizona. It was her last day of vacation and everything appeared dead.

As she passed a saguaro cactus, she noticed the right spoke pointed toward the earth. She heard a snicker and turned back. The right spoke now pointed skyward.

She passed an armadillo. “A large version of a sow bug,” she said aloud.

“I am no bug, madam,” said the armadillo, smiling with its sharp teeth. “Have you ever seen a bug with claws that can rake like these? Sadly, there is little to claw at in this desert any more.”

“Back home,” said Cori, “I have many leaves, and under the leaves are many grubs for a round fellow like you. Perhaps you would like to join me at my house.”

“Perhaps I shall,” said the smiling armadillo, and off the two went into the Arizona desert.

Soon they reached a dry riverbed. Cori and the armadillo decided to cross. However, just as Cori put her foot in the riverbed, water began to flow.

She withdrew her foot, and the water stopped. She put her foot on the riverbed, and water flowed.

She noticed when water flowed, the desert flowers bloomed, birds took to the air, and kangaroo rats came out of their holes, burros brayed. She stood barefoot in the riverbed for several hours changing the winter to spring.

As she stood in the riverbed, one of the burros started to eat her straw hat. Cori told the burro it was bad manners to eat a hat, and made the burro very sad.

“A sad burro is a very sad beast,” the armadillo told her, “the saddest thing in the entire sad desert.” Cori decided that the burro would join the armadillo at home.

The burro could give children rides at birthday parties and picnics and eat all of the carrots they did not want to eat. Then it would never be a sad burro again.

Two kangaroo rats had also taken up home in the hood of her jacket. It was near sunset and they were comfortably asleep.

When she awakened them, they jumped on and off her head as if it were a trampoline. She thought they would never come down. They kept jumping and jumping. Then they were tired.

Cori could not leave them in the desert. She put them in the hood of her jacket, where they comfortably nested, making a bed out of her hair.

She packed all of the animals into her van and drove to the motel for the night.

Her husband was not that happy.

“We cannot bring home an armadillo, or jumping rats, or a burro, especially a sad burro.”

However, Cori crowded the animals into the motel room.

Around midnight Cori and her husband were awakened by the sound of jumping up and down on their bed, repeatedly. The kangaroo rats sounded as if they were laughing.

Cori turned on the light. The kangaroo rats jumped from her husband’s pillow and covered themselves with her hair. Her husband was not amused, and slept the rest of the night with one eye open.

About Jeff Burt

Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, where the Birdman lives.

Visit the author's page >

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