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She Tells Me This Shit Ten Years Too Late 

She tells me this shit,
ten years too late.
She's been drinking,
her voice barely audible.
The conversation interspersed with
mi hermanito and I love yous,
then she says it,

"He was in bed
when he called for me.
It was ugly --
peeking, purple-blue,
through its turtle neck
(she laughs).
You were watching Porky Pig
and Daffy Duck,
but you heard, and you came.
He just grinned,
like a long drag after sex
(she giggles)."

"Remember," she says,
"remember his gray eyes.
You cried, "Abuelito,"
took my hand, and I screamed,
'cause you were soaked.
You carried me to the livingroom
and out the door.
You were barefoot,
but you ran through the thornpatch,
across the cotton-field,
to the pond half a mile from the house.
You kept saying, "It's all right, mi hermanita.
It's all right," 
but I wept for you --
your bloody feet.
I asked why mom and dad
always left us here.
You said they had important things to do
for the church --

I hate the church ...
I hate them.

wasn't it beautiful,
the moon floating on water.
You told the story of Coyote.
How Jackrabbit tricked him into believing 
the reflection of the moon was cheese.
He drank the entire pond but never found it.
Coyote was so full he couldn't move,
and Jackrabbit got away.
Shit, I love that story ..."

Then I see her
five years in the world,
the moon tangled in her hair,
and a blotch of dark red,
a strange butterfly
forever in her space.
"My God," I sob.
"You tell me this shit
ten years too late!
Ten years ago I kissed the son of a bitch,
told him I loved him
as he was dying in a hospital in Davenport.
I was angry with you,
because you said you hated him
and hoped he burned in hell,
but I'd forgotten --
I'd forgotten!
I thought you were a bitch --
always drinking, always hating. 
You tell me ten years too late
when I can't do a thing about it.
He asked if God would forgive him.
I said, 'Abuelito, God forgives all sins.
You have nothing to worry about,
And he smiled,
and I,
I was the one 
that closed his eyes."

"I gotta go," she says.
"Why," I ask, "after thirty years,
I hear a click
my legs give way,
and I slump to the floor.
"You asshole," I cry.
"You fucking asshole!"

Sometime later, the phone rings.
It rings all night,
but I don't answer -- 

the thorns in my feet
are unbearable.

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