Barrio with Sketchy Detail

Except for the chickens humming to each other,
making themselves look boneless in the dirt, 
I want no memory of this place.

I will leave gingerly.
I will leave strung out.
I will leave rocking on my heels in unbearable heat.

the Mexican girls still faking and mourning Selena 
from their perfect cement stoops, 
not yet sworn to the anger hanging 
from their papas' mouths like cigarettes.

I will leave stunned, from across the room.
I will leave by instinct, my tongue intact.
I will leave understanding it

was always coming, before that night, even 
before we met. Marta will stand quiet, a glyph,
Pedro offer beer in cups. We'll sit.

When I leave, the sky will be a gouache of scratches,
the morning sluggish, a cactus flowering.
Or I will leave in blistered dark. It will still be true.

From Lullaby for One Fist by Andrea Werblin, published by Wesleyan University Press. Copyright © 2001 by Andrea Werblin. Used with permission. All rights reserved.