In 2015, Carmen Tafolla was appointed state poet laureate of Texas. The author of over twenty books, Tafolla was chosen in 2012 as the first poet laureate for the city of San Antonio. She has received a number of awards, notably the prestigious Americas Award, presented to her at the Library of Congress in 2010. Tafolla will be succeeded by Laurie Ann Guerrero in 2016.


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Sunday takes us to the relic-boxes of small Texas towns,
their shops of Sears and Roebuck
            sewing machine stands,
bordello bedframes, and scrap-metal lawn art: a butterfly
stakes a Spartan garden
            with pollen rust.
Learning the hard way not to touch even the brass panel
of a swinging

You looked Texas today
road hard, scrubbed brush, blown tires
gasoline islands

But later California returned—fortune’s poster child
radiating. Truck full of gas,
cheap camera in the glove compartment
stuffed toys on the dashboard,
beads on the steering wheel,
a pretty girl’s


Old fang-in-the-boot trick. Five-chambered
asp. Pit organ and puff adder. Can live
in any medium save ice. Charmed by the flute
or the first thunderstorm in spring, drowsy
heart stirs from the cistern, the hibernaculum,
the wintering den of stars. Smells like the cucumber