Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Una Novena pa la Tierra -- Damien Flores

There was dirt in their blood at birth.
They slid from their mothers’ womb
across the face of the Rio Grande
where there is no deep kiss
of minnows and mud
in a river that once
pulsed the bosque
and held cities
captive like stained water
in her hands.


The Rio Grande
flooded every year,
drowning up to downtown
just high enough to ruin
the politicos’ suits.

They didn’t notice the dirt
was coming back to them.
That the river was a messenger.
A novena of mud.

The land reclaiming its men.

A mother returned for her sons
after years dead.

And they dammed off the river,
blocked and diverted her fury
for its supplication of this holy dirt.

La tierra santisima.

Blocked her like a menstrual flow.

Men need to control their women
how they can,
so they were taught.


They ripped the moon from
her waters,
shattered it with fallen limbs
when night was not watching
and buried its pieces
within the bosque.

Forced among the roots
of Salt Cedars and Chinese Elms
gorging on the soil
while the cottonwoods
swallowed moonlight
and shined it back from
gnarled branches,
shaky as the grip of a viejita.
Gave the light back to
the Rio Grande and to the dirt.


They could not ignore their blood clotting,
crackling with pebbles

culled from the mountains
that were once their ancestors,

who were once the lands
they now owned,
and governed,

who were the names
they’d grown ashamed of.

That dirt which became
their district lines,
their voter precincts.

Mud twisted into
that bastard tongue
with which they speak to money.
That bastard tongue
with which they whisper prayers
to their god
who was never theirs in the first place.


And they burned the bosque,
cast lightning
from city hall
into the river.

They had never seen
the face of the water burn
so miraculously.

August 2004


Post a Comment

<< Home