On the eve of all mumbling saints a gutted piñata burns
in a pregnant vision of an embrace. I approach & dip
my drinking plastic straw into the fire. Someone else’s birthday
sentence plays in the background— cake at the edges
of ours mouths. Our parents sorrow gifts like homeless magi.
Mosquitoes— though we’ve christened them zancudos
closer to zanganos slackers parasites what our folks called us
—swivel with the charred torn news of our despair.
Boy with deer knees like the mother I found dead one evening
on the side of a road under construction. What are we
witnesses to that is implicating us insufficiently? Boy
with thick eyelashes canonized in a white cotton dress like
that side of honesty that misconstrues it as cliché but most
human —the difference between failure & love is where
you draw the incision—. Boy in military clothing. Boy in sinking
flotilla. Through the straw the fire burns my finger.
Biblical row of mothers— arms around their boys in the kitchen—
sleeves perfumed— skin as smooth as holy water
before it stains. In the boy’s bedroom our hairs parted
like maps looking for their rivers. We carve out a canvas
out of our fears whispers— intimacy of this kind is smoothed
with shovels by the police now the military —tell me why
I haven’t stopped digging myself out of this ground —tell me
when we’ll pull our country from that chalked potholed road.
Every year we raised the dead we thanked them for the floods
thanked them for how missing bodies tend to float
when we plan to find them. After a few beers our fathers
returned from their lovers’ beds bolted down our doors.
From an infantile zoo we’d burst out running. How many lives
have I left ensnared— lives still learning to stretch out
their shadows —strategies to grow out new mouths—
consume only the heart of the deer carry the rest home?