Off the Track
At Creel we paid the two pesos
to see the woman living in a cave
the way her ancestors did,
soot on the walls, darkness and wood smoke,
newborn in arms and the older boy
running and running in circles.
We caught the train west,
saw the chasm at Barranca del Cobre
through the charcoal smoke of taco vendors,
bought a basket made from branches,
as supple and fierce as human thighs.
Back on the rails, we stretched
our heads from the platform between cars,
the wind remaking our faces
into shapes we could only imagine.
We thought of the Tarahumara,
somehow immune to the heat
running barefoot through the desert,
scaling the hot clay inclines,
keeping up with the deer.
Approaching the trestle we slowed
as if coming upon an accident,
but below, among the pines,
near the bottom of a vertical world,
the coach cars had lain for years,
positioned like disjointed limbs,
undergrowth pushing through their frames.