The Meteorite Hunters

The Meteorite Hunters

Theadora Curtis

sand is endless
dunes rise and meet the twilight sky
the moon’s crescent appears while the sphere of the sun is still high

the girls are busy
one of them walks this way and that with the worn piece of paper
looks at the sky and down at the sand beneath her feet with a furrowed brow

the other digs here and digs there
giving up on each project quickly enough to make clear that the sites are not researched
she feigns seriousness but sometimes laughs and runs and skips before starting again

her sister is serious in earnest
two years older and four inches taller
she’s the one who might be able to read the map

the white blonde hair blows free in the wind
then it’s plastered to their faces as the direction changes
both the wind’s and theirs

a few times the hot breeze steals the soft old paper from between her fingers
the younger one laughs
her serious sister with her limbs like stems in pursuit

night falls and the two hollow out a space below a dune
protected from the wind
they tell stories and jokes and talk about their destination and then sleep

the younger is always the first to wake
her face is rounder, her skin tanner
she is with the sun and they begin together each day

she finds things early in the morning that confirm their direction
piles of glitter or beautiful, strange rocks
she puts her palms down in the glitter and then onto her cheeks

four inches taller, two years older, still a child
the world is blurry and then she sees her running and spinning and laughing with the sky
she takes the map and the blanket and the backpack

that day they see two snakes
they see paw prints
the younger follows the prints on all fours and mock slithers after the snakes

the canyons are huge and the expanse is endless and the girls are small
two bright heads
one steady like a march and one chaotic like a dance, both guiding

two years younger and four inches shorter
she’s racing a low diving hawk when her sister yells
they’re close

they know the spot when they see it but they’re not sure how
closer to the expanse they see the metallic silver X reflecting light in its center
they are silent and happy and tired and then they begin to dig

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