Crossroads — By Elizabeth Perdomo

We drive past

old poetry, crossroads

with well-worn treads, old ruts

cut through vast thorn-brush regions.

Ranchlands with broken fences

hold things I dont begin

to understand; home

for creatures who I can

only vaguely name,

like some

large unidentified hawk

now perched high upon a canopy

of old electric wire posts,

nor can I ever know

why fast growing


is so prone to shed

large branches in fierce

windborn storms.

We pass signs,

discarded clothing,

torn shreds that blow as tattered flags

surrendered upon barbed wire

fencelines, within this

gust of wind-made sandsheet,

caliche & scarce water,

where dark wing shadows

crisscross roadways,

seek morning feasts left behind

from last nights carnage.

Ancient home of sharp thorns,

of los ebanos & granjeno,

where hidden dangers rattle

dry gourd warnings, where perils

abound in glancing edges. Abandoned

on nocturnal coyote crossings,

hide faces we glimpse but

do not know,

nor do we claim.

Caminos del desierto, which

lead the ill prepared through unknown

places, remain a last

desperate option for unnamed

strangers, who as farolitos

wander until freedom

becomes but a heat mirage;

a hope extinguished,

another name

forever vanished

in a land of dry bones

scattered upon parched red earth

as sun bleached mesquite beans

found hidden beneath some

shimmering August


~ Elizabeth Perdomo

Introduction/Background: Crossroads, first published in Interstice,began during a long drive back to the Rio Grande Valley from a visit to South Carolina. About a month prior to this road trip, Perdomo read, The Sand Sheet,written by local South Texas author and naturalist, Mr. Arturo Longoria. On the long road homeward, she drove along the edge of the Sand Sheet in Brooks County, Texas. Although she had driven that route many times before, she was able to see and observe things in a different light, and with much greater understanding of the complex life, habitat interactions, and sometimes, the deaths which occur in this harsh, beautiful land.

Elizabeth Perdomo, born in Emporia, Kansas, raised in Winfield, has written poetry since a teen. “One Turn of Seasons,” includes her poetry and another’s photography. Recently, her poems appeared in “Kansas Time + Place,” “Interstice” and “The Chachalaca Review.” Perdomo now lives in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Matthew David Manning holds degrees in creative writing from Arizona State University and Pittsburg State University. His poetry has appeared various publications including I-70 Review, Red Paint Hill, Rust + Moth, Kansas Time + Place, and Chiron Review. He recently became a father and has been enjoying his transition into high school education at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, KS.

Editor’s response to this poem: What stood out to me the most in this poem was how busy all the objects were. They all have jobs, and the poet seemed to always be unintentionally getting in their way. Like the poet, I too have questions for the ranchlands, but maybe I’m too proud to ask.

3 thoughts on “Crossroads — By Elizabeth Perdomo

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