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.