“The Other Side” Named Best of 2014 (La Bloga Floricanto, 2015)

We began in our old neighborhood
Three o’clock comes and we take off
before the rooster realizes we’re gone

We move out the cluster of houses
with their barred windows and doors
from the neon signs

To the outskirts
where fields of horses
stand still in sleep

Looking up, the sky is a map
the crisp air rushes with dawn
and the sun looks like a bleeding marigold

We drive south, intermittent with hustling
cities and empty roadways
nothings and crowded too muches

There are bridges just above
dirt roads lie ahead
and in between, fields of sunflower

Too many petals and stems and roots
for the farmer
to hack away

Still in Texas
we stop at the mercado
where the roof is paper cuttings

Our legs are sore
and the tires have hummed
us children to sleep

Mariachi on the ride home
until the hills become bigger
and we notice a cross on every top

Mexico’s inching close
and we know we’re almost
on the other side

The hills are balding with cactus
they ride higher by the mile
and father says they’re graves for gods

The city just outside the border
electrified all around
a halo hiding this little town

There are hotels by the street
and we’re told
no where is a place for children

We dare not cross
now that the moon chimes away
the footsteps and rust

When morning comes
we see a man
with three dogs

He has skin like me
but an angry voice
and angrier badge

Cars lined like humans
we sit and wait
until we’re called

Just inside the fence
a sign
two eagles sharing a snake

Bronze, proud, broad chests
and shoulders
who have known many flights

They keep our bodies in their mouths
only swooping from the sky
when the snake has grown its wings

braved against
the grounding earth
and reached the other side.



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