Border guards wake to painted buntings,
feathers a mix of red, green, blue and yellow;
their songs lost toward a Texas sun,
across the Rio Grand.

Cottonwood seeds settle
on pushed-back hats, moustaches, mess kits
as guttural sounds meet the morning.
Spoons chink on pewter,
Mexican coffee steams amid dust
and scuttlebutt. Time for a sweet crook
or a pug of Bull Durham.

Adobes are redabbed,
the outpost store saves yesterday's labels,
but now sells today's merchandise,
reeks of soap, pepper and tobacco.

Mounts are restless, eager to wade
near Santa Elana Canyon,
where water settles
its white and tan rampage.
Hooves splash, another border recon.

Lurking along the rivers belt,
pale warriors search for Pancho Villa;
horses bolt at motorcars braking
at the hitching post.


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