#200 I Breathe the Cottonwood by New Mexico Centennial Poet, Levi Romero

I take the sage brush scent in
The folding hills
The heat of the asphalt
Twenty-seven minutes past noon

Past the historic marker
And the twisted metal road sign
The yellow apple dotted orchards
The alfalfa

I take it all in

For you my brothers
And sisters
Lying on rubber mattresses
In your jail pods
Finger-nailing the names
Of your loved ones
On styrofoam cups

The cactus flower puckers
Its sweet magnolia lips
For you today
Its prickly arms stretching
Up toward the clouds and the sky

Las mesas, los arroyitos,
Los barrancos, el Río Grande
La urraca, el cuervo
The cigarette butt pinched
And yellowed, the crunched
Beer cans on the roadside

I take it all in

Past the presa and the remanse
The swimming hole
Where you frolicked in the water
With your first crush
Her hair wet and pasted
Against the slant of her forehead
Her bare shoulders glistening
con l’agua bendita

Throughout the genizaro valle
Las milpas de maíz
Are lined in processions
Their powdery tassels
Swaying back and forth
Like pueblo feast day dancers
Atrás, adelante, atrás, adelante
Heya, heya, heya, ha

Past the ancient flat roofed houses
Like loaves of bread and their
Backyard hornos with their black
Toothless mouths yawning
The acequias’ lazy gurgle
The tortolita’s mid-afternoon murmur
The cleansing cota flower
Los chapulines, las chicharras
El garambullo, el capulín

For you, my brothers and sisters
The willow, the mud puddles
Reflecting brown the earth’s skin

I take it all in


8 thoughts on “#200 I Breathe the Cottonwood by New Mexico Centennial Poet, Levi Romero

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