Two Poems

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Jaguar Song

—Just after you sign and envision building homes on this tract you smell me in the dark      know that I move through this terrain at night   though you only think of building and selling   even now you believe you can borrow my spirit by wearing a mask of my face on your face   look at me   delve into your fears   is your deepest fear to be hacked strangled or be strapped to an IV in a bed with no chance to die  I can grasp a turtle and break its shell with one bite   I can pounce on a deer and crush its skull and neck with my teeth   you slash and burn in the jungle   force the snakes and macaws to retreat   you even burn your own species alive   look into my eyes   I am your mirror and transformer   if you destroy my species I will shape-shift and hunt you in your dreams   the fingerprints of your hands resemble the black rosettes on my skin and you will not escape   you will never comprehend the twin nights in my eyes   remember as a child you came up the steps from the basement and flicking off the light at the top of the stairs feared a hand about to grasp your shoulder from behind   that fear is alive   and now as you rummage for keys at your apartment doorstep I am a passing jogger about to pounce   I am the creature who smells your darkest thoughts   and as you turn the key in the lock day or night out of the darkness I spring—

 Río Chamita

Mule deer browse in the meadow
                           and meander in clusters down the slope 
                                         across a dry pond bed;

at a shooting range, we stare at a machine 
               loaded with orange-centered circular targets

                                          but are not here to practice firing at ducks;

you climb a metal ladder, sit 
             on a bench high in a ponderosa pine, 

                          and, gazing far, say hunters shoot from here;

we step onto a floating dock, while swallows 
                           scissor the air, loop back, 

                                        fuchsia-streaked clouds undulate on the water;

and when we canoed around a floating island of reeds,
              I understood we came here  
                                          to ignite behind our eyelids—

a yellow-headed blackbird perches on a cattail;
                                         beyond a green metal fence, buffalo graze—

while water runs into this pond, before it spills 
                             over a metal gate into the Río Chamita,

                                                                 we gather our lives in this pooling—