Sharks in Albuquerque


Sharks in AlbuquerqueThe roadrunner led me to a rabbit by the railroad tracks

as if we were in a cartoon.


Look at the sharks in the aquarium.

We are in the desert, sharks. Do you know that?

Where were you born? You are so silent.


Drive up and down Central in the heat,

from closed motels to organic eateries to the foothills.

Take the Turquoise Trail to Santa Fe;

take the High Road to Taos.

There are forests in New Mexico

above the deserts.


When Georgia O’Keeffe saw this land,

was she seeing the external or internal?

Some mix of life and DNA

that made her seize upon the desert.


Put a shark in a glass tank at the top of the mountains

above Albuquerque.

At the very top of Sandia Peak.

Would it notice the world beyond the glass?

Would it look down on the flatlands and think,

“this is the ocean floor”?


Janna Layton is a writer and office worker in San Francisco. Her poetry and fiction have been published in various literary journals, including The Rag, Lakeside Circus, Literary Bohemian, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and The Pinch. She blogs at