Pitaya and cholla in the Sierra de Juárez
landscape the ridge of the Rio San Miguel.
The desert reversing the sea.
The communion of tamarind and cinnamon
on the tongues of arroyos,
naming the townships Bajamar, La Salina, Punta Morro
after the sign of the surf.

And voice the scroll of the tide in the blue fan palms
and the bleached shells of crabs on the black stone beach.

In the orchard of Santo Tomás
a laborer,
heart bruised like a peach,
gathers the fruit:
the grapes bunched like a rosary,
the pears wicked like candles,
the sacrament of orange and wheat
in the grove
by the ruins of the mission,
and reads in the leaves
of the valley
the book of his faith:
yucca mesquite cirio agave,
the salt vowels of the breeze
and text of his litany
on the flecked sea.

Under the plums of the moon
I am the laborer.
By the strokes of the waves
I harvest these lines:
the print of the gull and the piper,
the ribbon of fig on the mesa,
the ray of the brittle-star
brilliant as grace,
my hoe is the stalk of a pen,
my tablet the pages of corn,
my rows are the swells of the Bahía Descansos,
Bahía de Todos Santos,
the mass of the dry scrub of Baja,
the field of the provident sea.


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