When he procured her, she purveyed him. When he rationed her out, she made him provisional. On being provisional, he made her his trough. On being a trough, she made him her silo. At once a silo, he made her his cut. On being a cut, she made him her utensil. On being a utensil, he turned her downhill. So being downhill, she made him her skis. When she was his stethoscope, he was her steady beat. From beat she was dog, from dog he was fetch, from fetch she was jab, from jab he was fake. When he was her complex equation, she was his simple math. So she turned him into strong evidence, accessory after the fact. So he turned her eyes private, made her his man on the lam. So he became her psalm, so she became his scrubby tract. When he became an aesthete, she became his claw-foot bath. So she made him a rudimentary fault line; so he made her a volcanic rim. So she made him her unruly quorum; so he made her his party whip. That's when they both became mirror, and then both became lips. From lips she was trumpet, from trumpet he was mute. Then he made her his margin of error. Then she made him stet.
Old fang-in-the-boot trick. Five-chambered
asp. Pit organ and puff adder. Can live
in any medium save ice. Charmed by the flute
or the first thunderstorm in spring, drowsy
heart stirs from the cistern, the hibernaculum,
the wintering den of stars. Smells like the cucumber
served chilled on chipped Blue Willow. Her garden
of clings, sugars, snaps, and strings. Her creamy breasts
we called pillows and her bird legs and fat fingers
covered with diamonds from the mines in Africa.
The smell of cucumber.... Her mystery roses....
Heading out Bandera to picnic and pick corn,
the light so expert that for miles
you can tell a turkey vulture
from a hawk by the quiver in the wing.
Born on April Fools’, died on Ground Hog’s,
he pulls over not to piss but to blow away
any diamondback unlucky enough to be
on the road between San Antonio and Cotulla.
Squinting from the back of the pickup
into chrome and sun and shotgun confection,
my five boy cousins who love me more
than all of Texas and drink my spit
from a bottle of Big Red on a regular basis
know what the bejeweled and the gun-loading
have long since forgotten. And that is:
Snakes don’t die. They just play dead. The heart
exposed to so many scrapes, bruises, burns,
and bites sheds its skin, sprouts wings and fl ies,
becomes the two-for-one sparkler on
the Fourth of July, becomes what’s slung between
azure and cornfield: the horizon.