by Robert Hass
I have just crossed the Rio Grande,
And by a string of clever switchbacks
Have, for the moment, outwitted the posse.
Ahead lie the ghosts of Sierra Madre.
Behind, I have nothing but sun,
While the condor's shadow circles over my bones.
Though the mountains are steep, my horse doesn't falter,
And now I know why starving bandoleros
Will never shoot their animals for food.
Beyond my mirage, I see the white adobe—
Yes, the one with the red-tiled roof—
Which one afternoon I will lean against, with my hat down
And knees up, after a bottle of tequila.
In that siesta, I am sure to dream Of the lovely senorita
Who has stolen away from her father
To meet me in the orchard.
But enough of that. There is work to be done.
I have cattle to rustle and horses to steal
Before the posse picks up my trail.
(In a poem of Mexico, it would be unwise For a poet to mention the posse is his wife.)
So, mi amigo, if you find her
Prowling my mountains
With a wooden spoon in her hand,
Tell her I am not here.
Tell her I have run off With Cormac McCarthy and Louis L'Amour,
That I ride like the wind
To join up with the great Pancho Villa.
"Mexico" by Robert Hass, from Counting Thunder. © David Robert Books, 2008. Reprinted with permission.