Big Bend, Now and Then

We are a crooked corner of the cosmos tonight. If we hold real still
the sky will come down to see us. Lift her skirts a little and take us
the back way to the Starlight Café where she spins between sets
from tattooed Tejano boys playing drunken punk and polka.

We are almost late. The eastern artists have ordered Eames chairs for
blue painted porches and now call the same dark stars
as we did, louder but no less life-bound. It’s their sky, too.

This is how it feels to miss a place so bad you bend it.
In your memory, I mean. It takes a shape it never should have.
Like the bats that lift and leave together every evening.
Weaving the wind with their wings back to the

cave in a canyon that can still contain them.
Like the javalinas’ hooves chasing us in crazy eights around ocotillo,
laughing so we lost our breathe. Lost our minds years later.
It was late and the large sky’s stars were only ours.

Let’s close our eyes tonight and offer a plaintive prayer
for a desert not yet torn apart in Texas: rain to run its river high,
enough sand to settle it. In our memory, I mean. And a map
to the spring bath where we loosened our boots and were

baptized in a boiling, rock strewn place of rest. Just enough time
to recover some ranch-like religion. Big Bend, you are still there.
But me, I am too far gone. Lead me back and I know I will be better.
Big starry west Texas sky, name this night and lead me home.