When Flowers Were I n Bloom

When Flowers Were I n Bloom

Saturday

La Paloma Negra Belongs To The Mexican
















“The Cathedral of The Redeemer --
yeah,
right,
and this is the celestial ceiling?”

El Viejo sells la calaca:
serape over its shoulder,
large black sombrero on its skull,
ivory fingers strum a red guitar.
“Si,” he says,
“y la paloma negra
-- the black dove
-- belongs to the Mexican,
as does la guitarra,
el camaron,
mescal,
la cascabel.”

El Viejo offers muertos
and strums a corrido.
His wife accompanies with castanets.
“Aqui no hay tristeza,” they sing.
Here, there is no sorrow.
Their voices harmonic and ancient --
without polish, and the torture
of perfect pitch.
He thumps his chest,
throws back his head and howls.
His coyote-yell shreds my heart;
and the cold, culpable luna appears
over the vaulted sky,

but

already the moon wanes.

You
poor
old
son
of
a
bitch.
Beyond your curving shoulder,
my father’s church.
I hear the train whistle
on its way to Jerusalem.
Even now his words wilt like morning glories.
I can’t recall the prayers,
or
the sermons.
I can’t recall the lyrics
of the gospel
-- the one he wrote
-- so I can sing,

sing

in this pinché valley.

Old man,
beyond your vision my mother dances
in fields of zenpasuchitl,
but the smell of onion and garlic
overwhelms the fragrance.
Must be the blessings,
the grace of a mother;
or
of a God in whose footsteps
she walked,
or
simply the longing
of a feathered heart.


“You know,” he begins,
“El Coyote y La Llorona
belong to the Mexican.”

“Stop that shit,” I demand,
"basta!”

And

for a second,
silence.

“And the cock,
Old Man,
does he belong to the Mexican too --”

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