with a line by Vallejo
Mayans called Mexican Jaguar
god of the underworld
is stopped cold in his tracks by
Arizona’s border wall
followed by his shadow
followed by his ghost. His spot
patterns conjure images of butterflies.
Overhead, the Lyrids are a flock of
falling tears set aflame by their collision
with an unsuspecting earth.
Coyote laps last feeble inch
of water from a mud puddle in
eyes aglow with setting Orion
a paw print is a haiku
a brooding measure of belonging
with a keen sense
starlight is the desert’s muse.
Dry-gulched by fate,
its man in black circled you for months.
To them you weren’t human,
you were a border effigy
not even the sum total of your tracks
they discovered you sheltered in place.
News of your passing
was picked up in the borderlands
and wired to April sky.
You are buried john doe
where the desert sun sears
deep into the black folds of the earth.
The wind rode in side-saddle and in pieces
I had limbs of smoke
the dead air climbed up my arms
I rode memory into the ground
The turkey vultures circle in invisible cursives
above the wall above the
the grace of the unfurled world
some days I
suffer from the velocity of
walking blindly . . .
Award-winning poet/shot story writer/essayist JOHN MACKER lives in Santa Fe, NM. His latest book is Blood in the Mix (with El Paso poet Lawrence Welsh) was published by Lummox Press in 2015. In 2014 Disassembled Badlands was published (the 3rd book in the Disassembled Badlands trilogy) and available at fine local bookshops. Other books include Woman of the Disturbed Earth, Wyoming Arcane (Mad Blood Magazine #5), Underground Sky, Adventures in the Gun Trade , Las Montañas de Santa Fe, and The Royal Road: Impressions of El Camino Real.