A Space for Writers of the World
From the blues book of the poetry priestess
memories of days when teeth gleamed. Before he
undug himself from the bottom barrel of an AK47.
Before she collected the empty shell. Before he
said: no, you meant more than that. Before she
exiled herself to the back of the bedroom. See
how we transport ourselves? See how pyramids
are etched into the lives of palms? He wears cotton
(still ancestor song) hoodies sewn feathers like
a Cuetzalcoatl god mohawk. Like an Aztecan Black
warrior. Will he remember me on his bed? I found a dead
bird, her wings crushed out flightless flat against cement.
Like feathers torn from temples. Once I could see me
in you. She saw her eyes reflected in a necklace
more valuable, she thought than her reflection.
The truth comes back with a pen. We are certain
that this very gold ripped from lacuna hangs as wings
over your chest. If this is true, Malinalli can rest knowing
that this gold has come home to your body of words.
Some you keep pressed to your heart, others you keep,
like weight on your back. My daughter walks in Ajmaq,
that is the earth, that is spirit of the abuelos. Her strength
will be forgiveness. His dishonesty has two archetypes:
the woman who sacrifices for him, and the woman who
runs wild crazy. I am that one who shouted to the sky-gods.
I let rain come like a river from my eyes. I am the one who
came from the night and fought. I am the one who wanted.
Silver doesn’t make love. Gold is for conquistadors. I made
a family under a thin tin roof. She gave him a thin gold ring.
He lost it in the shower one day. I am tired, bent and wild,
down by the lake, my braids never tight. My mouth always
too ready. My belly was a temporary home to different paths.
I am afraid. I am the rain. I give life through my tears. I soak
the earth and bring my seeds to green. In my translucence
is your reflection. In my anger, the water rises, in my dreams
the lake rises, and she says to the church, imagine then, boats
hollowed from trees, their rowers stand like Jesus. Imagine then,
that I am Mary, Maria. I am mother of your first daughter.
Imagine my cries as she came through me. Imagine her. Imagine
our tears make a river. Call me La Llorona, but my tears are
arrows. Your words only build a bridge on my back. One day
my daughter will cross it, transforming it into the sky, into the night
quilt. We will set our secrets to flame, a new star for her grandmother
to pray to. These are the words of La Lluvia, the words of La Maria.
Broken bottled, a glass torn skin. She met her by the sea. A guitar, an absence. Do we
still believe? After the hands, after fists have come against thighs, after they sang to a
universe, she came and told me: they are both gods. You, Zimbabwe, queen, you broke
and built with the same hand. You made songs like lullabies and danced naked in hotel
rooms. You remembered daughters, shouted, gave tongue. Your throne was yours to
keep. Her chest was your country, remember the sand? She wrote: I have found her, the
ocean is bluer here. But is the sky more blue, is it cold there? Have you become free?
Lavender wounds, a hotel, a hospital room’s empty sheets. Lungs in the shape of
devotion. Extraction from the African, butterfly, mine is made of minerals, of canaries.
We were teenagers. Were they there to meet you? Your side of your bed is folded,
starched, and not unmade. Your hands are the same. Like when she found them, like your
daughters’ hands. They still read books, read star patterns, listen to the news. How our
countries separate us, how our men separate us.
Remember, you are Gods.