Roberto y Jesus, dos hermanos, left the scorched
fields of Saltillo like sand swirling in a dry heat,
Roberto con six pesos and a pocket of cornmeal.
Jesus carried a liter Coke bottle of water. They
travelled toward Piedras Negras at the Texas border
near Eagle Pass, following coyote paths
through the Chihuahuan Desert, through
saguaro thorns and hollow bones, through
El Rio, the river’s rocks clawing their
feet like El Chupacabra, pooling their
Mexican blood on bitter soil, threading
ICE and armed home guard, cresting buttes
under vulture eyes, climbing barbed fences,
slicing their skin, entangling their hopes.
“Podemos hacerlo. ‘Berto.
Te cubro la espalda, como siempre.
Grab hol’ of my shoulders, ese.”
They sought family in Dodge City, 700 miles
north toward Eldorado, sun flamed, wind worried,
where the brothers could work the meat plants, gutting
livestock, cadaverous eyes reflecting sterile walls,
and travel east to Wichita to cut cotton and
harvest milo, bent backed under the weight
of wearied bags, then north again
to Kansas City for apple picking, stepping
on cores that cracked like nails pounded
into caskets, migrating with the seasons.
They patched their clothes with baling string,
quenched their thirst with rainbows, heel-bruised
walked the black stones in search of America.
Steve Gerson writes poetry and flash about life’s dissonance and dynamism. He’s proud to have published in Panoplyzine, Route 7, Poets Reading the News, Crack the Spine, Montana Mouthful, the Decadent Review, Indolent, Rainbow Poems, Snapdragon, the Underwood Press, Wingless Dreamer, Gemini Ink, the Dillydoun Review, In Parentheses, and more. His chapbook Once Planed Straight is being published by Spartan Press.