Broken Retablo for Being on My Back, My Feet Bare & in the Air

                                  Caliche. Great bird, woodsmoke, needle. Snake, owl. Nopal vibration.

Almost every day 
	     of my life 
I have wanted 

to be filled. 

By something: 
a great bird, woodsmoke, 
	    wild laughters, 

an untethered

tongue. 
When I’m on my back, 
		          any yell 
can be a needle, 

any breath 
	   works as thread. 

On asphalt 
	    or caliche, 

in dirt, 
my feet bare their crooked 
		        hymns: 

hoping to be entered. 

I don’t own words 
		         for every sound 

I feel. 
I don’t own words 
for breath 

I stuff back into my body 

after loving 
	     & not being loved. 

but Who isn’t
in love with at least one
seam, a sound:
	   one vibration

of this world?

Ask any bolus of owls,
	    ask víboras.

Ask the nopales
	     of certainty
& joy.	

But who owns 
	     any certainty, really?
Any word?

& who still speaks
	     the languages

of víboras & caliche,

& who will reteach my body
that language

	     of great birds & nopal?

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                         Delirious,
touch-starved,
             I pinch a mole
                          on my skin, pull it
off, like a bead—
             I pinch & pull until
                          I am holding
a black rosary. Prayer
             will not cool
                          my fever.
Prayer will not
             melt my belly fat,
                         will not thin
my thighs.

                         A copper-
faced man once
             called me beautiful.
                         Stupid,
stupid man.
             I am obese. I am
                         worthless.
I can still feel
             his thumb—
                          warm,
burled—moving
             in my mouth.
                          His thumbnail
a flake

                          of sugar
he would not
             allow me to swallow.
                          Desperate
for the sting of snow
             on my skin,
                          rosary
tight in my fist,
              I walk into
                          a closet, crawl
into a wedding dress.
                         Oh Lord,
here I am.