Kate MacVean

Province of San Luís Potosí, Mexico

They are playing games with language,
laughing when I cannot follow their tongues
clicking through the consonants of náhuatl.
Hacahuillamitl, they tell me,
means "tree."

I learn new Spanish words for shovel,
pick, blister. Later, with an axe,
they show me how to find the grain:
"the wood wants to be cut here."

At night the stars we look for are
estrellas fugaces;
without the violence of our shooting stars
or the sadness of our falling ones,
they are fleeting—
simply there, and then not.

Seconds before I do, Cami hears the rain
advancing in a sheet from the mountain;
she calls a warning, two quick words:
                                           llega atl

In the time it takes to translate
"the water is coming"
I am already wet.