Homesteaded

My mother remembers

his beak with three lizards splaying

shadows behind his sprint. For his babies.

I survey his homestead, where my mother’s

grandfather made the wilderness

shift, near where we wake like

rocks to the sun. We wait for lizards

on our heat. Here, inheritance

has followed the mesquite roots and floats

deep under the water table, waiting.

For pioneering blood. Or toward dry air

said to save the sick. Or wanting space

between mountains, that’s why

he came. For silent nights. I try to find

my past mapped onto the dust. I start to

trace my line, snaking to and from cholla stalks,

but stop short. My uncle took most out

of the ground after the will was settled. For

the garden. Did he feel like we do,

driving the Mojave tuned to Christmas

hymns, layering hosannas over

cacti, while he planted his vines?

Which failed to commune with

this ground and so, again, no green.

Still we watch for movement, something

rubbing against the wind. I crane

my head and forget which ancestors stand

beside me, mothering. For the West

has a way of losing itself, unlike our

roadrunner on his way home.