The History of Silence

When did it begin? 
 
               Beauty 
Intentionally buried. 

Don’t comment on screaming 
It didn’t happen— 
                               Did it happen? 

Maybe they didn’t think 
We’d hear. Of course 
They knew we’d fear it. 
Silence is memory, 
Black space in the mind’s violent eye. 
Silence is choice. 

Don’t comment on memory 
The screaming 
Didn’t happen. 
Silence 

To erase, erasus 
From to scratch 
To scrape 
More at rodent to gnaw 
Silentium 
Absence 
Of mention 
Oblivion 
Oblivisci 
To forget 
The fact or condition 
Of forgetting 
Having forgotten 
The condition 
Or state of 
Being forgotten 
Or unknown. 

Corn is our history. 
Why is it called an ear? 
An ear hears and after 
Eaten the cob remains and remains 
And remains. 

Sugarcane, shiny reeds 
Who would count the inches 
Between sections of guitars, 
Staff for notes, staff 
For tuning circles, frets, 
Shadows in between 
Or the sweetness contained inside 
Telephone wires 
Let’s talk 
Like marionettes 
Little leather boots 
Against pregnant stomach. 
Is the uterus 
Pregnant or the 
Woman? 
Spiritbody within the spirit 
Or body. 
Can the spirit control anything? 

Fret 
From frezzan to devour 
Akin to ezzan to eat. 
To eat or gnaw into, Corrode, Fray, Rub, Chaff, to cause to suffer 
Emotional Strain, Vex. To pass time as in fretting. Agitate, Ripple, 
Wear, to become Agitated. Grate. 

Hands of the puppeteer 
Atop the wood cross handle 
And the little hook 
To hang it up 
After playing extinct 
Would hang 
Like a good fall. 

A row of soldiers 
A row of bodies 
This is my row 
Row: a noisy 
Disturbance or quarrel. 

Fresh corn rows 
With silk tassels 
I can be tender too 
White and flattened 
On a stone. 
My sisters’ bones. 
Where are they? 
Stalls in pupils 
Between rows 
In the desert 
Dilating 
Bullets 
Mother 
Corn 
Utterance. History 
Of indigenous. 

The murdered women’s pictures 
Millions of self-portraits. 

[No strawberry moon]

No strawberry moon for me, tonight. No strawberry moon. This small house creaks when I walk and open it. I have to weigh it, to goddess or not tonight. Goddess or godless. God is in my sleeping children’s presence tonight. I use words like god when I haven’t seen the strawberry moon, less when I haven’t been so generous. It’s not about gender—ess or less—but heft of the weight. Inside me like a baby. When people procreate. Romance a dashing thing. The harvest upon us. Will we feast or collapse in exhaustion tonight which is every?

excerpt from "Río Grande~Bravo"

We cannot tattoo roses
On the wall
Can’t tattoo Gloria Anzaldúa’s roses
On the wall
Roses grow in the earth of white-winged doves
The doves coo all day with roosters at Valle de la Paz
Cemetery, the panteón in Hargill near La Sal del Rey
Where deer snort warnings
From the monte, warn visitors
Because the freshwater puddles near the saline lake are shared
And deer prints outnumber all others, wedge prints fill with salt
And when the sun beats down on the washed-up body of a crystallized frog
I remember Prietita having to kill and bury her fawn
Before the game warden arrives and incarcerates her papi

And I remember a gardener tending flowers
Was thrown by a car carelessly backing up fast
In a McAllen strip mall parking lot. The gardener
Forced a dizzy smile, spoke only Spanish when he finally stood up.
He didn’t want to call attention to his presence
On this earth,
This strip mall earth. And so the driver zoomed off.

And I remember the parakeets eating bottlebrush seeds in spring
Their anxious huddling in fall on urban electric wires
I remember buying cascarones on a spring corner
After my own accidents
I remember Brownsville’s red-faced parrots
The ancient tortoise at Laguna Atascosa
Hundred-year-old sabal palms uprooted for the wall’s concrete footing
I remember the confluence of river and Gulf at Boca Chica
And the fisherwomen, men, and children across
At Playa Bagdad, Matamoros

I remember wanting to plant and water roses
como las palabras de Gloria, como la gente
Del valle, como mexicanos in the borderlands

*

*

And when I wake up in the morning feeling love
And when I wake up in the morning with love
And when I wake up in the morning and feel love
And when I wake up in the morning already loving
How the body works to help us feel it

November

It could be the jaguarundi’s
Blood on my face