Take care of them. If they want water,
Dump them in the river. If they crave
Freedom, let them loose among rattlesnakes.
If they want to breathe, let them breathe dust.

Let the desert mouse nest in their white bones.
Give them shelter with your greed. With your rape.

The road kill is a sign you’re almost home.
Point to it and show them who they are.
Their life’s a documentary, a newscast.

But for you, everything is possible.
You’re the map that leads them astray,
Priest leading a funeral procession.

Load this cargo. Shackle them with promises,
Backaches that keep them from killing you.

Previously published in Alaska Quarterly Review and Border Voices: An Anthology.

Author: Octavio Quintanilla

OCTAVIO QUINTANILLA’s work has appeared in Salamander, RHINO, Alaska

Quarterly Review, Southwestern American Literature, The Texas Observer,

Texas Books in Review, and elsewhere. He is a CantoMundo Fellow and

holds a PhD from the University of North Texas. Currently, he teaches

Literature and Creative Writing in the MA/MFA program at Our Lady of the

Lake University. He is a regular interviews contributor to Voices de La

Luna: A Quarterly Poetry and Arts Magazine and author of the poetry

collection, If I Go Missing (Slough Press, 2014).


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