Saguaros

Poets and Writers - - The Practical Writer - From Un­ac­com­pa­nied by Javier Zamora. Copy­right © 2017 by Javier Zamora. Reprinted with the per­mis­sion of the Per­mis­sions Com­pany, Inc., on be­half of Cop­per Canyon Press, www.cop­per­canyon­press.org.

It was dusk for kilo­me­ters and bats in the laven­der sky,

like spi­ders when a fly is caught, be­gan to ap­pear.

And there, not the promised land but barb­wire and barb­wire

with nothing grow­ing un­der it. I tried to fly that dusk af­ter a bat said la san­gre del saguaro nos se­duce. Some­times

I wake and my throat is dry, so I drive to botan­i­cal gar­dens

to search for red fruits at the top of saguaros, the ones

at dusk I threw rocks at for the sake of hunger.

But I never find them here. These bats speak English only.

Some­times in my car, that vi­cious red syrup clings to my throat and I have to pull over—

I also scraped nee­dles first, then carved those tall tor­sos for wa­ter, then spot­lights drove me

and thirty oth­ers dash­ing into paloverdes;

green-striped trucks sur­rounded us and our empty bot­tles

rat­tled. When the trucks left, a cold cell swal­lowed us.

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