Napo 23

Home, to the Borderlands

On 281, heaven smells like citrus blossoms—
Faint and far away, but a memory
The finger can’t touch.

Here, the javelinas rule the brush,
Die on the roadside
And the mesquites bow their heads.

These empty counties were made
For driving through on the way
To somewhere else as the sun
Scorches and urges movement,

Migration, fleeing. St. Peter
Mans this checkpoint
In a green uniform—

But only stops those who leave
This sacred place. A camera
Flashes to record your stay

In heaven or hell or the afterlife
Or just a refuge where time moves
at the speed of Montezuma cypress trees.

The city lights glow like southern stars.
The lightning bugs used to,
Before the weeds of progress

Filled this landscape.
I come to baptize myself
In this humid heat of spring,

To this southern tip of Texas
To the edge of the world,
To the beginning and the end.