In the night, snakes gather
on San Pio’s one-lane road
-- it radiates July heat.
I stand on the wooden steps
of Juan Bendito’s grocery-store.
A longhorn skull hangs above the entrance,
and wagon wheels line the front porch.
From the south, where stars
burn on the Rocky Mountains,
I hear a guitar, an accordion, and castanets.
An old man, a rooster lodged in his throat,
Take the ribbon from your hair,
shake it loose and let it fall,
Lay it soft against my skin.
like the shadows on the wall ...
and I know the song belongs to el viejo.
But my thoughts are on the one-lane road,
covered with snakes, curving
into a moon bigger than the earth,
sitting red-eyed among cactus bloom.