Evaporación: A Border History (2)
Paisanos we call roadrunners brothers of the land pacing the quebrada de humahuaca a dozen Mexican corpses bloat under desert sun in cottonwoods by the river zone-tailed hawks squeal— evidente desde el aire a crackled private runway overlies toxic waste unexploded munitions booby- trapped properties bordered by purple and yellow bloomstalks, lechuguilla, agave, cabuya, volcanic chimneys up-thrust from barren flats agleam in a basalt outcrop tarantula-size feldspar crystals the old raiding trails from Comanchería convergen en un estrecho sendero packed by hoofprints Alarmed ki-dear ki-dear of a Cassin’s kingbird on the barbed fence 150 miles surveilled by a tethered aerostat que se parece una ballena (cielo abajo) between those peaks sits Panther Laccolith and both naked vaqueros staked-out screaming on an ant hill as the female katydid waves her foreleg tympanum at the stridulating males the fine- grained intrusion that veined the mountain also silled Paint Gap Hill su caballo tembla en agonía pinned to the ground by a lance (and do you imagine that you yourself don’t also live a life that’s no longer there?) hovering over the field a flock of crested flycatchers (Clark’s nutcrackers can’t hover) the border patrol dog lifts its leg at the tire of the filthy Skywagon (cielo abajo) all windows down blasting Hair Nation Radio for an audience of cercas de coachwhip que van paralelas al camino Chihuahua Trail following Alameda Creek we call it horse-crippler cactus Vietnam-era seismic probes enterrados a través de tierras privadas and lava-rock rims the sides oh give it a break mockingbird El Despoblado giant yucca and bunch grass but what ventures into the afternoon heat? only Pharoah ants only the insulated darkling beetle earth rising up into particles too scattered to be called dust en los dos lados del pavimiento magnetic sensors registran movimiento y the direction of evening cicadas eclipse tree crickets a thousand head of cattle driven below trachyte hoodoos where it comes to nibble a prickly pear: the cottontail at dusk the human contraband at dusk famous for their dwarf fauna estos estratos fósiles depositions of carnage catches of light our legacy mission posted at each station a carcass of the unspoken aullando
Note: After a conversation with Lara Schoorl, Gander revisited the bilingual poem, “Evaporación,” published in Be With, determined to extend the poem into a sequence of variations, each adding more detail and each involving more Spanish. This is the second poem of the sequence.