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Riverfall by Simmons B. Buntin

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Buntin, Simmons B.

I cannot follow the river of her myth.
Perhaps Papago, or Hopi.

In legend, she was born of the sharpest
cactus—the cholla—and spread her thin

roots into the desert soil.
She broke the underground river

and blossomed into life.  As punishment,
the Great One gave her thickened fur,

and naked pups.  Confined
to the desert,

she was weaker than the wolf,
could not hide like the fox,

took heavy heat from the white sun.
She ate the horned toad spitting blood

into her eyes, the gila monster leaking
venom through her veins, and the prickly pear shooting spears

through her tongue.
And she became strong.

I said, I cannot follow the river
of her myth; but I can

follow her sweet desert song
like a stream through the fiery hills.

Copyright Simmons B. Buntin 2005

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