April 2013


Amid ahuehuetes, (those trees)
el Mercado twirls papel pi-
cado. Heaps of gold pile behind
volcanoes. Cuauhtémoc’s feet
simmer. Eyes intent on bustle.

Illuminated watermelon
seduces sweet agave hearts until
Whoosh, Juan slices a perfect sliver.
Sandia bleeds shock. Juice dribbles. Coats
surgical steel, obsidian seeds.

Adelita wipes her bushy brow,
fierce Azteca and machete
mutilate tender cacti. Just
in time for Lent. I count pesos;
eyes rest on wires and rusty chains.

Hernan whistles hymn of sacrifice,
of conquista: Pirated cds
for a buck. Malinali polishes guns
while her son whispers, “Quetzal..coa… shhh”
and points out slumbering snake in cage.

—Petra Toscana

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