Portrait of a Man as a Map of Texas

by Katherine Hoerth

You dwarf this canvas with your piney woods,

Chihuahuan desert, every bend, plateau

and gorge. A single time zone can’t contain

your multitudes. I’ll paint you piece by piece.

First I see your brow, I pencil in

a furrowing of canyons. Then, your eyes –

bluebonnets blooming evanescently

hidden in the shadow of the brim

of your cowboy hat, skyscraper shade.

I trace the highways of your veins that lead

straight to your heart. It beats like Austin jazz.

I lose myself in the tupelo forest of your chest.

I run my fingers south across your plains,

scruffed with the thorns of everything. Your hands,

impossible to draw, rest in the pockets

of your jeans – they’re clenched and open, calloused

and tender all at once. I paint your mouth

with open sky. I paint your lips with sand.

I paint the foaming ocean on your tongue.

I wish I didn’t find you so damn handsome

after a rainstorm when your hard earth softens,

welcoming my roots, my naked toes.

Once, I saw the desert of your smile

bloom full and yellow, rife with marigolds.

Let me sketch that on your face. I’ll draw

a bridge across the chasm of your navel,

across the Rio Grande that rives your flesh.

Two Lovers and a Rusted Pick-up

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