May 25, 2001

dry heat, they say

little comfort to migrants who cross

Sonora to Arizona

a line in the desert

they crossed by night

but nights

in summer

are short, turn

quickly into days

long days

of terrible heat

dry heat

more than two dozen men

and boys

left Veracruz,

land of rain and mango and papaya

making their way al norte

crossed that desert line

to arid land

with no mango

no papaya

only rattlesnakes

thorny cactus

unas pocas horas

said the coyote,

only a few hours

to the highway—

then abandoned them

they walked “The Devil’s Highway”

a land known for heat

dry heat

not for a few hours

not unas pocas horas

but seventy miles

to the highway

two dozen men

and boys

seventy miles from the highway


believing it was


they moved across dry sand

with one day’s food

and one day’s water

in dry heat

through dry washes

over dry hills

eating cactus

becoming dizzy, nauseous

drinking urine


in 115 degree

dry heat