poetry On the Dry Sea of Sonora
On the Dry Sea of Sonora
By Lollie Butler
Everything the shadow of a wall can’t cure
pays profits to
Take this man Jaime and his wife Rosa
handing off their two young ones
as they cross La Frontera…Adios…adios…
…Via con Dios…
See how their faces turn
to the small-craft warnings of Sonora;
man and woman adrift
in a lifeboat
made of coyote promises.
Walking north with two day’s water
for a five-day journey,
the sun rises
over the range of javalina,
bears down like
the wrath of the Aztec God;
offers no solace. These rigors
the wildcat takes in stride
and will gnaw the bones
of los povres
when the sky and sand change places
as plodding droops to crawling
on the dry sea of Sonora.
El sol…el sol, there is nothing but
the skin-splitting sun as man and woman
follow their only god; a single shade tree
from the rippling horizon.
Under the anger of noon,
the rattler recoils
and the distant mountains spin
like folk dancers.
Beef jerky gone, weak water,
until there’s nothing
but the thought of torn nails
from family timbers; the lack
of legal papers, saying they are counted
among lives worth living.
Man and woman will gamble survival
in one world
against the scant means of another,
for work their empty hands ache
to reach. At night
their ninos cry like dark-eyed mice.
Under a bruised sky, the sun drops
behind the mountains;
a double chain of footprints
comes to an end
and hope’s votive candle
is blown out across Sonora.
Lollie Butler is a Fellow in Literature, granted by the Arizona Commission for the Arts. After earning an MFA from the University of Arizona, she taught Creative Writing to women inmates of the Arizona State Prison, and won several awards including a fellowship from The Arizona Commission for the Arts. She was awarded Tucson Citizen of the Year in 2003 for her work with refugees. Her poetry and prose are published widely. Lollie lives in Tucson with various wild creatures of the desert.