January 08, 2008


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

& voice the scroll of the tide in the blue fan palms
& 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 & wheat
in the grove
by the ruins of the mission
& reads in the leaves
of the valley
the book of his faith
yucca mesquite cirio agave
the salt vowels of the breeze
& the text of his litany
on the flecked sea

Under the plums of the moon
I am the laborer
by the wide strokes of the waves
I harvest these lines
the print of the gull & 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

—Cliff Bernier

Posted by dwaber at January 8, 2008 04:44 PM