A trip to Laredo is like breaking open the sky.

Each long row of wheat meets the eye 

before it sloughs into desert, where the occasional hawk, 

in a few concentric turns, identifies a weak movement. 

I know this place. The place in between. 

I have seen limbs of prickly pear hovering in the still, hot air, 

clustered and distorted like a reef in reverse.

I have seen the hay bales lead me to ranch houses 

with tin foil winks on every window 

and a museum of appliances on every porch,

sliding from one world to another,

where there are trucks without wheels, 

willows without spirits, and mesquites with nothing to lose.


I have seen the sun own the land. I have seen it bake 

into our hands. And I have seen it sleep in a dark coverlet

while the sky opens loose, and the coyotes, in their constellation,

propose a trick. A star crosses with intelligence. 

A rabbit becomes an antique. At the gas station in Cotulla, 

I eat the moon in the form of a pie. A real U.F.O. in cellophane,

a chemically unctuous sweet. Each bite, with the physics of an asteroid,

crumbles onto the asphalt where purpling black spheres of gum

have each staked a claim on the cosmos. There is no claim

that cannot be shifted. There is no orbit that cannot be redone.

I have a stepfather who I call a father, who believes other life forms

are out there, far beyond our boastful sun. And I have seen

this moon pie has no bloodline. I have seen it orbit from

one home to another, a pre-made kindness at a pit stop 

where something in the brush is changing up its cry.

Copyright © 2023 by Analicia Sotelo. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 20, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.