Offsprings of Extremes
by Loretta Diane Walker

How many thousands of years have you been there?
"Questions for the Moon" by Ho Xuan Huong

321 miles west of Fort Worth
and 280 miles east of El Paso, Odessa.
How many years have you been here?
Before steel horses dipped their noses
in your trough of sand and oil?
Before obese heat sat on your days,
corpulent chills covered your nights?
Before a desiccate sky left rivers of cracks
in the belly of your red earth?

How many years have you known
the stab of cacti, brutality of wind,
conversations of coyotes,
taste of the sagebrush’s bitter juice?
My body is a desert, too.
It knows the oppressive burn of want,
the cold breath that swallows bloodlines,
the cracked earth of womanhood,
the brutality of…

In the cathedral of sky,
Night, with his broad-shouldered
deep-throated darkness,
takes Moon as wife.
This is love we both understand.
Stars, like leaves, feather her full white belly
and we, orphans of day, clutch
the clipped umbilical cord hanging
in the soft birthing room of her light.

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