what I once thought of walking
splinters under the husk of
a grey sonoran moon
in the mesquite desert.
when the walkers cross
they powder their footsteps,
drink a silent coffee
and hum a slow prayer
that sings through the metatarsals,
through the stars sieved between
our hard kingdoms.
the helicopters clatter up the long night,
flash out like open-eyed mosquitoes,
la migra hunting,
the desert howling back
like a holy animal.
the walkers unbend their feet,
cover the blisters with wax and benediction,
wait with us with low smiles and bright belt buckles,
cook tortillas and carry the map of this
heavy planet on their backs.
I once thought it fluid,
the simple slip of thighs
over miles of roots and insect and dirt.
I once thought it unmolested and eternal,
smooth as a curl of sand,
clear as a striping river.
There are bones in the navel of this
desert only the jackrabbits know.
There are walkers who's steps
pat on forever, stubborn as the
mouthy horizon, as the august rain.