Arizona rises in welts.
It pinches New Mexico and my mother,
the menstruating horizon between the two.
Thus it was with her. She, a cloud long
and placed perfectly. Sky strong and full
of torn cornflower blue, ravaged
to strings. Before me, the babies were born
as still and silent as mercury. A victory
to her when her field caught seed
and bloomed startlingly open—
I was born in a dry world, and we lived
as chasms among men, saguaros
with hundreds of years holding rain;
the same, in a sense
as wild beasts in battle, who want for water.
We were mistaken in taking
from the cracked ground, brown
and spent. Forget men.
We were better off withholding.
I tell you this because she’s gone, now,
and you are a kind and forgiving reader,
For truth, I say I remember
this mother, the mother of my nights
bringing home a jackrabbit,
pulling a tooth trap from its pelage to slit
the pregnant belly, knowing
the body to be a stasis and the desert a hell,
and the knife the only bridge between the two.