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 
Adelante, footprints.  
                         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? 
                                                                            No comment.  



Nude, left to right, I swing. 
Hips shadow,  
                        breasts throb  
                        & sweat.  

                                                                            I come closer. 


                                                                            Pant, I let you go, mi Verde.  



What did I do to get here?  

                                                                                               Me muero  
                                                                                                            de tanto esperar.  
This waiting, my wailing 
                                               —silently, pleasurably...
                              the way a snake bites its tail.  

What did you expect?  
                                                                           This space 

                      Un día vas a voltear  
                                                            a buscarme  
                                 y ya no 
                                                                                   voy estar.

Until the end of time, here  
stands the manzana trees we gardened 
& bloomed.  

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 skies.  
Green paloverdes. 
Green-thorned heart I cup in hand,  
                            beaming, bleeding.  


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.