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Transborder Immigrant Tool Series: What to Expect and Do if Stung by an Arizona Bark Scorpion

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

The Transborder Immigrant Tool is a GPS cellphone safety-net tool for crossing the Mexico-U.S. border. It was developed by Electronic Disturbance Theater/b.a.n.g. lab in 2007 by artists Micha Cárdenas, Amy Sara Carroll, Ricardo Dominguez, Elle Mehrmand and Brett Stalbaum, in conjunction with CALIT2/Visual Arts Department/University of California, San Diego/Program in American Culture, Latina/o Studies/English Department/University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Poet Amy Sara Carroll wrote a series of 24 poems titled “The Desert Survival Series / La serie de sobrevivencia del desierto,” which were uploaded onto cellphones equipped with simple compasses and interfaces. Each poem is a form of lyrical advice that provides readers and listeners with tools for every hour of a day spent in the pernicious borderlands between the U.S. and Mexico. Truthdig is publishing these poems in Spanish and English in our Poetry section, accompanied by bilingual audio recordings. To read the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th poems in the series, click on the hyperlinks. For more information on the project, watch the video presentation below.

The 12th poem in “The Desert Survival Series/La serie de sobrevivencia del desierto,” read in English by Meryem Kamil and Spanish by Natasha Hakimi Zapata.


For most, the bite of the translucent yellow and brown-striped
Arizona bark scorpion is not lethal. Scorpions, night-walkers, seek
cool, dark, moist hiding places during the day. If you are stung by a
scorpion, clean the wound; do not eat anything for eight hours. It is
possible for you to recover. In contrast, a brown recluse spider’s
bite is literally “a force of nature.” Expect chills, fever, nausea,
vomiting, rashes, hives, an ulcer that will continue to grow in size
unless the wound is excised and medically treated. Found in dead wood
and debris, the brown recluse carries a dark, violin-shaped trademark
on its back.

Para la mayoría, la mordedura del alacrán de corteza de Arizona, de un
color amarillo translúcido y estriado café, no es letal. Los
escorpiones, caminantes nocturnos, buscan escondites frescos, oscuros
y húmedos durante el día. Si le pica un escorpión, limpie la herida;
no coma nada por ocho horas. Es posible que se recupere. Por el
contrario, la mordedura de una araña parda reclusa es literalmente
“una fuerza de la naturaleza”. Espere escalofríos, fiebre, nausea,
vómitos, sarpullido, irritación, y una úlcera que seguirá creciendo a
menos que la herida sea extirpada y tratada medicamente. Hallada en
la madera seca y en escombros, la araña parda reclusa lleva en su
espalda una marca distintiva y oscura en forma de violin.

Submit a poem

Truthdig will publish poems that offer insight into current events and sociopolitical themes relevant to today’s world. From entries across the nation, Truthdig staff will select poems based on both their artistic qualities as well as the social issues they discuss. To read our guidelines and submit a poem for our consideration, click here.

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