• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 06
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La Danza del Venado

I usually die
at the end of the dance
but I’m still upright
perched atop volcanic rock
cooled magma
with my bare bones index finger
pointing up to make a rebuttal.

Thin dead branches sprout
from my ribcage, my gaping
heart-shaped pelvis. My antlers
not yet shed, I’m ready for battle.

Tar black sky pinpricked above
crucifixion thorn, starlight
older than the bones, the rock,
the dance, the people, the earth.

I have not fallen. Behind me
the tree — her branches bare and
clawing skyward, belly warm
with embryonic life, her wooden
uterus cradles new flesh.

I, too, will bloom.
In the desert,
we have deep roots.