Prayer of the Palo Verde Beetle

I watch a Palo Verde beetle on its back, flail tibia spurs & tarsi & antenna
next to the gas station pump. Heat of crude oil, of carbon atoms in
absorption; heat of desert in August suffocates my thighs & sweat runs
course of my legs in frozen witness. I am spiracles pin pricking a body
trying to breathe. I am elytra to cement. I carry migration in my scutum:
a song unraveling over generation after generation & yet a border weighs
on mind & mandible, a bullseye on my back, on the backs of those of us
who sing across imaginary lines with inherited wings. Goose flesh exists
before ticker tape, before the shooter, before brown bodies agape &
words consume & images consume & we look to the sky for semblance
of song & a wall becomes a scalpel in rip across abdomen of continent
which first born an entrance, a womb. I am compound eye meeting
brown irises in firmament. I am cloud-cover prayer. Foot in reach to turn
over & I collapse in a nation’s hesitation. I am pupils in drill, aghast.

Felicia Zamora is the author of three poetry collections, including, most recently, Instrument of Gaps (Slope Editions, 2018) and & in Open, Marvel (Parlor Press, 2018). She teaches creative writing online for Colorado State University and is the education programs manager for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.