|Laurie Ann Guerrero [Letras Latinas Blog]|
from Laurie Ann Guerrero's A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying:
One Man's Name:
Colonization of the Poetic
The night we stood in a circle
wine-heavy, you, our gold god,
fair-haired and bearded, you sacrificed
my children like the Aztecs
Line up the bearded men. Get in line.
Ode to El Cabrito
More than sheep and cow
and butterfly, I love you.
No envy between us
like the rooster-footed.
In your belly, I live
like warm milk, goat-
thick and cloud heavy,
lick you from the inside
until the slaughter — when your mother
cries like my mother. When fire
sends its last breath to the stars,
I tear away your muscle, bubbling
fat, and warm tortillas over coal.
In the onion and cilantro,
you do not recoil like the burnt skin
of the pig, but spread yourself: sunbather.
The rest of you still on the spit,
gap-mouthed, your flesh-
less head tossed back:
you love being loved.
In the sweet meat of you —
little hooved, little horned —
I taste my own skin.
Morning Praise of Nightmares, Two
When a steak knife fiddled against the sinew of my gut, I heard
the slow whine, felt each ridge, felt the simmering red erupt
like the juice of an overripe plum — the tickle of nectar running
down the body, still warm from the sun. And from the kitchen
to the street fair — as it often is in dreams — children laughing,
a clown, the color yellow, balloons melting against the burned
sugar of the skin. And guns — tiny, like from gumball machines —
in tiny hands. Bullets, red and green and gunmetal blue, piercing
the skin like botflies, their metal heads in deep until the offspring,
that winged blood, gently and timidly took flight. Then the peeling
of my skin: who was that crafter whose face I never saw?
That paper-maker, his teacup hands, his clothespin fingers
rinsing clean the lace of my forearms, the squared-off torso,
long sheet of leg, thick bit of finger and toe like strips of bacon,
strung up, decorating that red room like black and white photos
developing mountains or smiles or sex. I could taste my own blood,
though I couldn't lift my hands to finish the job — put myself
out of misery. I was but remains — a piled heap of slop
on the floor of a house I never shared a meal in. Even my eyelids
were gone and my spine exposed. I was an afterbirth without
the birthing, a too-early puppy whose whole pink body thumped
with each beat of his slow heart. This is my morning praise
of nightmares: Open your eyes, I hear three mouths whisper
against the flower of my skull, mama, open your eyes.