In 1913, at the age of seventy-one, the famous writer saddled up a horse and rode into Mexico. He disappeared without a trace. – Forest Gander, Very Trustworthy Witnesses, The Paris Review
My story pales, sometimes slapdash,
sometimes elegiac, my stunt double,
wave of ten thousand starlings. But
lately, Ambrose, you’ve visited my
dreams. You urge me, with your
dual-edged charm and twist endings,
to pick up on context as I trudge
behind you through merciless brush
of Mexico’s Zone of Silence. Our
footsteps chime through lacy shadows
that whisper how you will be museumed.
I am a pauper of timid trajectory while
you, with skull in your palm, are celebrity
of your story, speculation has kinged you.
Did you wrap another hoax
around your shoulders or head
south for sombrero and revolution?
Old Gringo, you harvested many
deaths there: boiled alive near a
Mayan temple, gripped by pneumonia
on a two-wheeled cart, submerged in
maelstrom of tequila topped with riddle
of bullets, or evaporated while walking
a well-worn path. O Bitter Bierce,
my stubborn specter is not bloody Shiloh,
Chickamauga, or Kennesaw Mountain,
but simply which day will arrive as my
finale for the heavy paw of obscurity.
Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her tenth poetry collection, How to Board a Moving Ship, is forthcoming from Lily Poetry Review Books. Please contact her through her website: www.rikkisanter.com