Emmy Pérez

Ars Poetica

The pain in the rooster’s cry. My anguish, not his. He is pre-storm
glimpsing electricity’s gypsum, positioning without knives. We all want
to catch light, drink water without thinking about toads. At the call of
thunder, spadefeet emerge from hibernation and enter the acequia’s
bamboo ears. Without solstice would we fall?
I want geography – to know it like driftwood knows it. Offer new shapes
for the macaw’s tongue in the fashion of precipitation. “Ahh! Ahh!” he
says as a school girl pushes “Polly want a cracker” like a veteran paleta
vendor. “Ahh! Ahh! Ahh!” he replies until “Whazzz up!” surfaces on the
momentum of his pendulum.
Zoo verbs – envision turquoise feathers above forest canopies; close a cold
eye and see dandelion seedheads along San Elizario’s canal. And fear the
stroke that controls the tongue. Dementia as mentor and magenta the cue
stick. Halos break apart, splitting nuclei, neutrons bouncing behind closed
eyes until the whole state glows ember. We need another’s skin to suck
until dawn.
Open window shades and feel the sun. To know it is to lack it is to lick it.
We’re lucky to shower every day like starfish pyrotechnics.
Drink, Drive, Go to jail. If only latchkey highway signs persuaded rain.
The river fantasized by maquiladoras: a humble mail order bride, astral
tassel around her waist, a rush of fools’ trove at indigenous prices. Drive
friendly. The Texas way.
Tomato splats on Welcome to New Mexico
merge with dusk in Santa Teresa, Anapra’s sister. Anapra, Chihuahua just
a tocaya and patrol Bronco away. Calling all agents! Erase a day’s work
of watering dust devil hedges and swim in the Rio Bravo with snowy
egrets and colonia residents.
And Dear, I love you the way Budweisers love caliche arroyos, the way
reptiles scale burrows and sore eye poppies make boys cry. And
globemallow pinwheels, my little horned lizards, please guard this roost
made of mud, as stellate hairs and amphibian bleating woo a monsoon
from this toxic evening.

Emmy Pérez
Ars Poetica is from Solstice (Swan Scythe Press, 2003), and reprinted in The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (University of Arizona Press, 2007).