You will no longer hear my voice,
Manzana spoke aloud to an empty
audience, the last image of the lover fading.
Echo waves that met mother earth
at gravesite—gravel, huachichil humming
in yellow, rise & fall, a bouquet of gardenias, alto
en canto ascends over montaña.
To climb uphill one carries a life worn.
Worn to life.
Where worry meet the lived.
Live, you said...
may the sun kiss your skin, daily.
I did. I do.
Film of dust
Of whom has laid the land before...
to where to turn,
who to ask;
the interrogatives: ye ye, chica
the land answers to no one.
Unfasten, first the neck.
Red bandana, left behind,
white dress pinned on cactus, sore—
we go inward
of the thing that must be named—
thorn, poison, despair.
Does grief pick those who are wounded?
How much longer?
I’m not sure.
Does it feel good?
Nude, left to right, I swing.
I come closer.
Pant, I let you go, mi Verde.
What did I do to get here?
de tanto esperar.
This waiting, my wailing
the way a snake bites its tail.
What did you expect?
Un día vas a voltear
y ya no
Until the end of time, here
stands the manzana trees we gardened
The trees are dying from drought
because it hadn’t been fed.
Red shrivel red.
Green losing green.
Maybe if I repeat Lorca will still this grief.
No hands like yours could touch the soil
& bring the rain. Sing to plants, my, I still
can hear your voice like violet.
Sing to my garden,
Green-thorned heart I cup in hand,
Long, black hair below hips,
I see the ghost of women running
to mountain peak boombox & corridos
This is the last image I carry of mountain.
She must’ve been so still for the exiles to greet
as they exhaled their last grief uphill,
to look below
and see their stiff bodies
mold in rock.
Copyright © 2023 by Maritza N. Estrada. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 26, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.