Friday, June 11, 2010



I have just crossed the Rio Grande,
And by a string of clever switchbacks
Have, for the moment,
outwitted the posse.

Ahead lie the ghosts of Sierra Madre.
Behind, I have nothing but sun,
While the condor's shadow
circles over my bones.

Though the mountains are steep,
my horse doesn't falter,
And now I know why starving bandoleros
Will never shoot their animals for food.

Beyond my mirage, I see the white adobe—
Yes, the one with the red-tiled roof—
Which one afternoon I will lean against,
with my hat down
And knees up, after a bottle of tequila.

In that siesta, I am sure to dream
Of the lovely senorita
Who has stolen away from her father
To meet me in the orchard.

But enough of that.
There is work to be done.
I have cattle to rustle
and horses to steal
Before the posse picks up my trail.

(In a poem of Mexico,
it would be unwise
for a poet to mention
the posse is his wife.)

So, mi amigo, if you find her
Prowling my mountains
With a wooden spoon in her hand,
Tell her I am not here.

Tell her I have run off
With Cormac McCarthy
and Louis L'Amour,
That I ride like the wind
To join up with the great Pancho Villa.

Robert Hass

Posted over on The Writer's Almanac

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