Twelve times they'd been here, this particular desert. On the pan, a coyote trotted by with something furry in its jaws. Eleven times they'd seen something similar, the half-dead snake in the prickly pear, the gunshot owl, the lemon-yellow scorpions with claws waving. He stroked her hair, she said something too low for him to hear. What? he said. She shook her head, no, no. She spoke rarely, less so here, the sun turning toward the mountains and falling.