El Paso, Texas
Three moons and five suns ago, I stood on your desert mountain, purple skin sheathing the night. I gazed downward on the multi- lights of my city, quivering like the souls of Don Juan de Onate and the Twelve Travelers. I lay in your seven laps of light, three
companies of angels brushing me with breeze, cool on my skin. Like a holy man, I sat looking down on your colored clutter of stucco and brick, crows swooping deep into your core and out of you. I will come back to you, bulwark
from which I sprang. I will wrap my arms around your houses, I will grind myself against your walls, stain myself in the juice of your berries. I remember your nights, when sky came down slowly to meet the summit of you, came down like a sheet of muslin
tucking your natives in for the night, muslin that converged colors, colors that poured out of sky like a pallet of peacock, until all citizens within your bastion and all those across your river in their blue and pink houses lay under a cincture of orange.
Like a fire, fervid and flashing, sun skimmed our rootfops. Like a god, it dropped down, stamped its name on our dry land. I will come back to three moons and five suns ago, sleep in and on your belly, ten million stars flickering like Aztec tears in your skies.
Watching My Father Lie Cheek to Pillow, Eyes Open
It’s how the old think. Every night when their heads rest on muslin kept crisp in dull floral blooms. They walk towards their beds, one foot forward,
the other, sometimes slow to drag behind, often, their weight pressed on a cane, and they drop, heavy on their coils, fluff of a mattress
over the spring. They feel each thing, the bend a joint makes in its ivory clatter. Glad to have made another day, scratching
off the 24th on their calendars. These calendars do not speak, you see, of an autumn turned into winter and back.
Marian Haddad earned her B.A. in Creative Writing at The University of Texas at El Paso, where she grew up in a large Lebanese-American family. She has completed her coursework towards an MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry at San Diego State University and recently relocated to San Antonio where she is completing her first manuscript of poetry tentatively titled Somewhere Between Mexico and a River Called Home.–Naomi Shihab Nye