Out of the perfect circles of feathers
on lawns & roadsides,
out of the rotting maws of javelinas,
from the bowed heads of wilting wildflowers,
from bathtub rings around lakes,
& the exposed Indian graves once in twenty feet of water
the drought rises to walk amongst us,
& translucent skin a sheer rippling
above the trees, body of vapor & heat,
limbic shadows knotting
& untying beneath the bean & pecan trees.
Diminish, diminish, it says
with its mouth full of feathers,
hot finger in my mouth,
in the mouths of every one of the yet-to-be-transfigured.
What do we mean by shelter, it asks us,
the same question castoff shoes
& empty gallon bottles in ranch fields ask us.
Add that to the others we’re in the midst of answering--
how far north do the narcocorridos carry?
What are the coyotes charging, human traffickers,
what’s the exchange rate
on the peso black market?
The skies are cloudless, answerless--
only a distant thunder on the horizon
that tells you it's dove season,
that the white-striped wings will soon be falling.
Those walking the fields will stay invisible--
they will show only as white blazes on X-rays of eighteen-wheelers,
lives hidden amidst ripening mangoes,
the unseen body that walks beside you,
like an undertow of feathers,
like a call that must go unanswered
if it is to exist at all.
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