Miguel didnít want buzzards to find him

buried in a Mexican desert

with only his mind left to feast on.

Horse hooves slap on the dry river bed.

Pablita breathes in as I hold her reins.

Heat spreads through my saddle,

moistening my thighs.

This one, her rebellious eyes shadow mine.

The smell of wet sand, horse breath,

dust climbs up the bank.

"I used to write for La Prensa," he said.

"I wantedto change our corrupt government,

but the people didnít care."

Pablita falls back, distracted, pulls at

her rusty bridle. I spur her sides,

need to hear his story.

As I move closer, she shifts her body,

tries to kick Miguelís horse.

We dismount, hike to the waterfall.

Sheets of liquid tumble onto a granite bed.

Sand winks back sun glints of foolís gold.

I listen to words churning beneath a stone,

fill a backpack with aluminum cans,

pluck a seed pod from a pepiniyo salvaje,

collect jagged pebbles.

He tells me about the zalate.

Its spindly root tendrils grow

out of rock walls.

Tells of his travels to Canada

to study the environment.

He wants to teach some day.

Now he tends horses,

old wood stables covered with palm fronds.

"Itís a simple life. I loved horses as a boy.

Iím safe for now."