At my family’s stained window,
A morning jay.

I stop my scissoring,
As if I could reclaim

A Santiago of bird-call
& sudden ease,

As if I could annul
The battle-gray maze of gutting

Jails, courthouses, morgues—
Purgatory where I bend

Over the burlap,
Again & again,

To show the blunt,
Still disillusioning world

The smashed black bell
Of your clarinet.

A blue swatch of your work-shirt becomes 
The irrevocable, raw dusk 

Of that day;
Here, in this farrago of scraps,

Your living room as I found it: 
Lunatic with ripped song sheets …

In imploring red,
A beggar’s scuffed vermilion,

I’ve stitched:
Whoever sees my arpillera,

Help me to pray for my son.
He was seen leaving rehearsal

At 7 o’clock.
He was seen in detention

At Londres #38.
He was seen; he was seen...

After so many years, perhaps     
You wouldn’t recognize me, Leonel;

I’ve become the weatherworn,
Undocile woman

Manacled to a tyrant’s fence,
A mother dancing the gueca solo

In the monitored plaza,
The ache of my make-do arms

Your rakish college photo

Pinned to my wind-riffled blouse:
In the arpillera,

A tiny, vivid, appliquéd doll,
Forever mourning,

Forever swaying
To your unforgettable woodwind.

Copyright © 2022 by Cyrus Cassells. From The World That the Shooter Left Us (Four Way Books, 2022). Used with permission of the author.