Saturday, March 22, 2008

How to Tell a Body Apart

Osprey and raccoon leave fish carcasses

up in the skinny Australian pines. A tourist

drags her skirt in the gentle surf of the bay.

One large condo in the distance

is completely on fire.

In order to feel safe, we sleep in the trees,

swatting at mosquitoes. An Abuela

comes down the bridge half way, calling

for her sons. The hem of her nativity

dress has dragged through blood.

Summer clouds are like cakes.

They do not promise to stop torture

or to bring humanity back. If you see

an osprey with a fish it is a sign of prosperity.

In last year’s spring parade, between the pirate

ship tossing green and silver beads and the police

motorcade, one man walked alone

as a skeleton to protest the war.

He walked like his legs didn’t work,

pretending to lose his balance.

Children threw rocks at him until their parents

smacked them. At the end, the pastor’s son, playing

Resurrected Jesus walked through the trash

and dirtied his gown.

The Abuela raised up to beg heaven

and a wind dropped a dead fish into her hands.

She screamed and the tourist, missing one eye

and half a cheek turned her head

towards the sound of birds.


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