Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, May 9, 2013


by Elisha Holt

If the mesas
are the teeth of this valley
the mountains are the lips,
mouth open wide waiting for rain
from a cloudless sky.
Caterpillars, the texture
of ripe peaches, crawl from the throat
to cut the fields of alfalfa
in the purple flowered bloom.
Their chrysalis nestle in stands
of wild Bermuda grass
until a breath of yellow butterflies
blows across these roads
where a flock of sheep means
someone is going to be late for school.
In the afternoon we listen
to the blackbirds’ watery song
tell us alligators are all gone from this place
and for this crime coyotes
take revenge on house pets.
Their eyes reflect the light
as they stand outside
the glow of the porch.
Like watermelons we grow fat
from river silt and lay in the June
sun longer than we should.
We have dug this lagoon
beneath a graffitied bridge
where the Interstate passes over the brown water,
where on sticky evenings
we find an abundance of catfish driven mad
by the scent of chicken liver and beer.
Once, in this very place, a woman
lay on top of a man, bodies
pressed together, her arms
around him to keep the moment from slipping.
And in this place
we are all that thirsty.

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