Nancy Davis Rosback, McDowell Mountain Regional Park
Scottsdale, Arizona, February 2011
© Nancy Davis Rosback Used With Permission
[T]he survival information is encoded
in the grammar of the language.
~ Leslie Marmon Silko, The Turquoise Ledge*
The desert is the obstacle,
and he who knows runs both
hot and cold, with and against
the coyotes standing ground
for the drop-off, hungry to collect
what earth-toned hands might
press into night's gloved palms.
Where the rattler sings
to a slip of moon, words
spin silence their companion,
steps between arroyos leaving
no before, no after, the land
absorbing the heat of bodies bent
on making it, the accident of birth
what makes the choice so easy.
Build a wall west to east, stretch
the wire barbed with the scent
of men secreting in a thicket
of prickling cactus, measure
their time at risk by the whiteness
of bones they've blessed in passing.
Trickle become flood, they come, still,
this land the one for a reason,
that land their call to home.
© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas
Special thanks to photographer Nancy Davis Rosback for permission to use this image from her recent travels in Arizona. To see more of Nancy's wonderful work, visit a little somethin'.
* Leslie Marmon Silko, The Turquois Ledge (Viking 2010), p. 46.
"Coyotes" is slang for those who, for a price, smuggle the undocumented across the Mexican-U.S. border. A kind of survival guide for those making the crossing warns against coyotes, polleros [literally, chicken herders], and pateros [duck herders]. A New York Times post on the guide is here.