Perdida and I stand at the river's
trying to name the currents.
But there are thousands,
all bound and braided
like the muscles over bone
of a brown and liquid body
down a dammed riverbed.
And that's what it was the day before,
a shallow canyon full of dusty rocks,
its waters manipulated
into canals that feed a desert city—
her house and mine, as I open
my mouth to ask
Perdida to pass the bean
burros she bought at Taco King.
We're sitting on a knoll
above Silva & Sons gravel works
that have enlarged the river's hips
into obese swirls of lazy water.
We cast our baited lines
hoping to snag a slower current
that can be identified.
In the lull between casting and
I ask how she got a Spanish name.
Her dad, she begins, was struck
by her beauty in infancy, said,
"This one's such a perdy-little-dolly,
perdilildally, perdildal,..." repeating
under his breath while gazing
through glass until her name
A hundred babies in the ward,
all ugly, smash-faced screamers—
and there she lay in a clear plastic
floating on the sea of humanity,
for a moment at peace
with the Sonoran Desert.
© by Leilani Wright