Without knowing why, your mother digs,
unaware and unconcerned with the cuts
on her palms, or with her nails peeling back,
or with the way her fingers begin to bend,
twist, resemble roots it appears she’s unearthing
from the ground. And after digging for hours,
after enduring the gashes and punctures,
she finds a hand, severed cleanly at the wrist,
and adorned with rings that once had some
significance, but which now, as your mother
takes them off, have become objects
she can barter the desert with, one for shade,
one for water, one for a sign that the farther
she travels, and the more the sun boils her flesh,
the closer she is to something she can hold,
something that no longer feels out of her grasp.


Esteban Rodriguez