Moving Words to Tongue Injects History into Your Soul

for Lisa MM, on her beginning of her half century, 2021

La migración de las mariposas monarca está en riesgo, pero hay un plan para salvarla

in one word of your birth
mariposa, wings like rice
paper, colors of our sun
or the second gene
of your birth, papillon,
psychedelic bursts
like fungi sunsets

I think of you inside that candle
mixed scents of collision
swirled  Aztec-Maya-Zapotec
blood, corn, tortillas, cumin, straw
canella, beans of vanilla

sweat blood tears
water turned skyward, wells
olla’s hand-formed
clay of birth, life
graves, ash fields
volcanic, jungle
Sierra Madres
snowcapped twins
in the valley or maize

your birth was shrouded
mother orphaned
steeped in white man’s
religion, father drained
French-Anglo line
cold as steel
even so, you waddled
into bursts
energy of Latina

holding baskets filled:
pina and nopales
chile’s drying on reeds
you look for metate
some reason for holding
masa, folding-knuckling
earth to food, sustenance
fragrant and tastes alluvial

I see iguana,  bats, butterflies
snake of the plains
eagle just one rattlesnake
strike from freefall
the agave of love
the worm inside insanity
yet you embrace
history broken
patchwork serape

I see you in that field
cane, corn horizons
tongue of cactus
sending white flowers
for pygmy owls, bats
those mariposas
like a tattoo
burned into your
dreams

Paul Kirk Haeder has covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/ community journalism in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, and PK12 districts. He organized part-time faulty. His book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. He blogs from Waldport, Oregon. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.