“Free-Form Bolero” by Mather Schneider

Mather Schneider


We eat nopalitos
for lunch
pruned from our hard yard

and we love the afternoon away
both of us hunter
both of us prey

then sleep.

I dream about pueblos
with names of women
and a smoky cantina with flowered curtains
and ironwood tables
polished by a million brown elbows.

The floor fan blows the hair on my legs
whispers chicken skin goodbyes
to my sweat
and as the heat rises with the finale of April
I am at peace with what will come:

wormy compost of May
foul-smelling hat
sunburned deeds
mesquite syrup and cactus jelly
sealed in jars like preserved lust

the throat-burning flames of bacanora June
sour stains of July
lime and onion tears
of August

the desert stretched out like an endless
mockery of self-importance.

Funneled into the triumph
of now

the sun floats down
into the other
a popped balloon at a gala ball

and as I wake up
it’s like I’m face to face
with the prettiest girl
at the last dance of the world

and she’s looking at me
like she just woke up too.

from Rattle #43, Spring 2014
Tribute to Love Poems


Mather Schneider: “Well, I tried growing broccoli in our desert yard and that didn’t work, then realized that we could eat the prickly pear cactus that grew naturally right there in front. You prune the soft young pads, skin off the spines, boil them or fry them with salt and chili sauce or whatever you want, and there you go. This, combined with a nice siesta on a day off from work with the woman you love, is more than enough for me.” (web)

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