from a collection entitled Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

29.4241° N, 98.4936° W

I was birthed into the world in Biloxi

right about the time Hurricane Camille

was due to make landfall in ‘69.

My mother says the doctors

were talking about the World Series

and the moon landing.

I don’t remember Biloxi.

San Antonio, however,

is when and where ‘I’ truly ‘arrived’.

This is when and where

this soul of mine

began taking copious notes.

I, of course,

could never have known

we would trade-in hurricanes for scorpions.

One of my first memories is of crawling.

Being an August sun-baby, I loved basking in the warmth of the sidewalk.

My mother insisted, however, that I stay in the grass

so I wouldn’t scratch my knees up.

Little did she know, that grass stung!

It stung, and tickled, and “bit” at my bare legs like small fangs.

Immediately after placing me in the grass,

over and over and over again, I would navigate back

to that smooth gray sidewalk

with its sun-captured heat

radiating upward like a tortilla oven.

Divine bliss!

But, then it happened.

Over and over and over again,

two…great…unseen hands

would descend from the heavens above,

lift me up like a sack of green chiles,

and place my ass right back in the grass.

I’ve been doing battle with irritation ever since.

I was born in Biloxi

but my spirit

didn’t really enter my body

until San Antonio.

…and like the Rio San Antonio

that flows down through Goliad

and merges with the Rio Guadalupe,

the rest of my life has been a flowing

and a merging

a merging

and a meandering

a meandering

and a hunting after

that solar relief

that Original Soothing Medicine-Heat

I once felt on my tender knees.

(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen /

image: excerpt, Ambient Desert / Desert Wind (artist unknown)