by Amalio Madueño

all the way from Dulzura and all summer
the brush had been thin, dry & for a stretch
scorched to black stubble in Arroyo Segundo

the fires subsided & the rattlers came out
and the drone of the engine kept the dirt road
coming no matter how bad things got or why

until one day, in the midst of leaving everything
behind, I skidded to a stop on Otay Road
dust engulfing me & the old pickup

windows open, peering back at the diamondback
writhing out its death on the road