Esperanza

Appears in the March 2012 issue of Icarus magazine.

I.

The things I did to keep you from harm
no scissors ever touched your hair

poor Abuelita Rosa said, the sacred names
it is a nest of snakes in my bath

I lay a whole night in the churchyard
in my wedding dress, cold as the font

and lizards slipping between the stars
just to give the dust what it wanted.

II.

A child that filled a bowl with songs
for every half-dead dog in the yard

encircled your fevers, your heartburns
with lime flowers, such a child

should not hang up a satchel
of secrets every day after school

everything it said in dreams I did
I wore a bracelet of scorpions

locking the sting deep in my fist
until I felt nothing
but your name

was the call of the witch bird
making its cage in the mesquite

the face that shrieked at flames
found my heart at every window

was seen on the bus to Juarez
the wings of an owl for a veil

and nothing warm for the journey.

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