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She Tells Me This Shit Ten Years Too LateTo Esteban R. Arellano, Jr.'s previous piece     To Part IITo Part II

Smiling Death Songs and Other Poems
i.  where mothers make orchata & weep for tortillas ...

Mother: when I die 
bury me beneath your hearth 
and when you make 
tortillas there, 
cry for me; 
and if one should ask you, 
mama dear, 
"Why the tears?" 
answer quickly: 
"The firewood is damp 
and green." * 

across Big Bear, 
3 stars flash 
and disappear 
into the heart 
of Little Mexico. 

I hear 
7 shots 
and, "King love, 

I pause, 
the whistling punctured lung, 
and eye, 
the eye, 
of the murdered boy 
peering in my window, 
and the sun bleeding the sky, 
washing it away. 

And the mother 
in a mad tango, 
skin of her son 
stretched on her face 
and smell, 
the smell, 
of burning tortillas 
and night 
pooling in her eyes. 

This evening we play 
la guitarra and el acordion, 
and sing corridos 
for a slain boy, 
a butchered boy, 
a native son, 
her son, 
my son, 
our son, 
and whoop, 
whoop to release Coyote 
and call the moon -- 

where mothers make orchata 
and weep for tortillas 
and 3 stars that disappeared 
into the heart of Little Mexico. 

* When I Die (Ihkuak Nimikiz) By Nezahualcoyotl (Hungry Coyote) born on the day 1 Deer 1 Rabbit or April 28, 1402. Translations from Nahuatl by John Carl.

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