The Heartroots in the bitterness
of this ground; it spreads out the web of its hair,
the fine net of its rootlets, an inch deep in every direction,
to live upon infrequent rain.
It opens its armored buds
and is pollinated for only one night--
a riot of sweetness--tongued by a brood of migrating bats.
At noon, its perplexed shape nests in the skeletal core
of the perished giant.
It steers always in the same direction.
Its tongue keeps worrying or trying to heal
the tiny sore inside its mouth.
It mocks the sentiment, driving past the feathered sign
tacked up along the road.
It is always flying onward, away to the underbelly
of the world. It is opening
useless wings within me.
It hopes to envelope its children in some haze or halo
of guardian angel. It hopes to survive
the gaze of the mythic quetzal, the lacerating
beak of the macaw. It is just another voiceless herald
flagging in the terrible heat, running up and down
the rivers running between the heavens
and the underworld, racing on the roads that still belong
to the Lords of Fever, Pus, Pestilence.
No matter how little it rains, how prolonged the drought,
even when it cannot afford leaves, it blossoms...
All those multiple yellows that hummingbirds and bat are drawn to,
sinking their heads into the nectar, the unfailing
sweetness of the heart.
Issue #11, September, 1999 :
Santa Fe Poetry Broadside.