The poem is about the story of an illegal immigrant Manuel Jesus Cordova Soberanes. Though he had successfully hiked his way only a short distance from civilization where there was work for the man who would earn enough as a bricklayer to feed and care for his 7 children back home, Manuel gave all this up refusing to abandon a lost boy in the desert. The boy named Christopher was the victim of a fatal car accident that had cost him his mothers life. Manuel cared for him though they shared no common language and Soberances knowing he would be returned to Mexico with nothing to show for his journey across the desert.
Scott Simpson -Published by New Wineskins 2007
Two days across the desert
only eight hours more
to Tucson and work—
daily bread for four children
Generational son of brick layers,
Jésus Cordova had journeyed north
from the village of Magdalena de Kino
where in 1688 Jesuit Eusebio Kino
Santa Maria Magdalena,
teaching the natives the art
of brick laying, and the words
of a carpenter
spent on outcasts.
Then suddenly, among the screwbean mesquite and
patches of arrow weed, Jésus meets
nine year old Christopher,
miles from any town
and night falling.
November 25th had deposited
a minivan at the bottom of a crumbling cliff
300 feet from the tight curve, misjudged,
the boy’s mother alive, but dying.
On a Thanksgiving night,
Christopher climbed for help
and stumbled upon Jesus
who shared what he had,
his coat, a fire
and the only common word
that bridged the barrier:
Christopher is alive
because Jésus Cordova stayed with him
till dawn on the wrong side,
Jésus, the brick layer America rejected.