Thick brush snagged my skirt,
bloodied my legs, drew on them
with its thorns a map of my passage.
You cannot know that I scraped spines and skin
from bitter cactus to slake my thirst, ease my belly,
nor that the sun, el ojo del diablo, shed tears
of boiling oil on my head while hot pebbles
squirmed in the seams of my shoes.
Or that I traveled furtively by night
dozed sitting against a rock at noon,
eyes closed to slits, the saga of my flight
flickering across half dreams.
I stumbled often, always looking back
for the ghost of my mother to bless me,
for la Virgen to sanctify my journey
ears opened wide for sounds of la migra,
heart leaking thunder like the storm
on the tin roof of the room
where my mother died, leaving behind,
in its one good dress, her spent shell
with its withered hands, its long white braid.
from A Thin Strand of Lights (Moon Tide Press 2006)