Riverfall by Simmons B. Buntin
Buntin, Simmons B.
I cannot follow the river of her myth.
Perhaps Papago, or Hopi.
In legend, she was born of the sharpest
cactus—the cholla—and spread her thin
roots into the desert soil.
She broke the underground river
and blossomed into life. As punishment,
the Great One gave her thickened fur,
and naked pups. Confined
to the desert,
she was weaker than the wolf,
could not hide like the fox,
took heavy heat from the white sun.
She ate the horned toad spitting blood
into her eyes, the gila monster leaking
venom through her veins, and the prickly pear shooting spears
through her tongue.
And she became strong.
I said, I cannot follow the river
of her myth; but I can
follow her sweet desert song
like a stream through the fiery hills.
Copyright Simmons B. Buntin 2005