Jesus Makes a Mean Rattlesnake Stew

By: Roger Camp


I’m always pleased to see Jesus
when we go to the nursery.
He’s a compact man

with a pencil moustache
on a chiseled Zacatecan face.
Just returned from his family’s ranch

in Mexico, he relishes sharing
the fresh tomatoes, corn and beans
picked from the fields surrounding his house

built with gathered stones and packed
with adobe, by he and his father.
We hunt too, he added, pulling out a phone

and thumbing the screen to show me
his boy-cousins posing proudly,
rattlesnakes in one hand, sling-shots in the other,

like Custer’s scouts, stringy scalps hanging
from their belts.
Rats too, suspended in time, held by their tails,

hunted while stealing fruits off the cholla,
prickly pear, nopal and barrel
cactus. Lastly a close-up

of a pot of white meat, scraps really,
a medley of rabbit, rat and rattlesnake
before the addition of chile guajillo

and the smiling family, spooning
dinner onto their plates.

Roger Camp lives in Seal Beach, CA where he gardens, walks the pier, plays blues piano and spends afternoons with his pal, Harry, over drinks at Nick’s on 2nd. When he's not at home, he's traveling in the Old World. His work has appeared in the Poetry East, Pank, Southern Poetry Review and is forthcoming in Nimrod.