She tosses a bolt of fabric into the air. Hill country, prairie, a horse trots there. I say three yards, and her eyes say more: What you need is guidance, a hand that can zip a scissor through cloth. What you need is a picture of what you've lost. To double the width against the window for the gathering, consider where you sit in the morning. Transparency's appealing, except it blinds us before day's begun. How I long to captain that table, to return in a beautiful accent a customer's request. My mother kneeled down against her client and cut threads from buttons with her teeth, inquiring with a finger in the band if it cut into the waist. Or pulled a hem down to a calf to cool a husband's collar. I can see this in my sleep and among notions. My bed was inches from the sewing machine, a dress on the chair forever weeping its luminescent frays. Sleep was the sound of insinuation, a zigzag to keep holes receptive. Or awakened by a backstitch balling under the foot. A needle cracking? Blood on a white suit? When my baby's asleep I write to no one and cannot expect a response. The fit's poor, always. No one wears it out the door. But fashions continue to fly out of magazines like girls out of windows. Sure, they are my sisters. Their machines, my own. The office from which I wave to them in their descent has uneven curtains, made with my own pink and fragile hands.
Fushigi na Chicharron
(for Sergio Mondragón)
1. The body's hidden face removed of its excesses is cooked into a codex that reads: this little piggy went to market this little piggy piled high illuminates what's meant by surface. Everywhere a nation awaits, a cardboard raft soaks through. Everywhere is a drink of water swimming with the dead: Leagues that can't be reached or spoken. 2. A man in the plaza sweats beneath the synthetic hide of historical sacrifice and does a dance making tourists in t-shirts feel so alive. Far north an altar will be built for the seamstress forgotten in piecing such garments. 3. The question, as we sit by the grill, becomes: What is the real animal between us? What skin do we stretch, scrape and tension with our desire for expansion? For books that leap like bodies not our own? So we can never end with more or less than this: What does it mean to start here, with a taco de chicharrón, as if to say "fushigi na en" the encounter and consumption of skin launches every ship?
"Fushigi na en" is related to the Japanese concept of fate or destiny—i.e., when two people are bound to meet or feel a connection upon meeting. Chicharrón is fried pork rind.