A Long Word Meaning Monsoon
for a long word
I was learning
in the mirror.
You came in,
A Small Town with no Flag
Mezcal Del Maguey Chichicapa
is one dirt road farther than the day laborers from Oaxaca.
Coconut farmers live there, hands and clothes carry the scent
of bath soap.
The men are brown as beans. Washing under outdoor pumps
their bellies are plump and white.
We play dominoes under the shade of my copal tree
and share the Mezcal of the city.
When they sleep on the Day of the Dead they awake refreshed
Women walk single file the way women once followed behind
In my clinic, they point on a doll to the places they hurt.
When they don’t want me, they speak Mayan.
When they nurse, their breasts fall as sweet potatoes
from a basket. They carry barley corn in their pockets.
Children run after the red pullets. They ride a stuttering
burrow who circles the plaza as though trying to remember.
Older girls stay with one another, long chestnut arms,
I imagine their pupils set with deep purple iris.
Young men gamble with their deaf beauty. Turkeys come
to them, stars whiten.
Skinned animals hang in the market, small goats chew,
their bobbed tails twirl.
Dried stigmas from the saffron crocus stiffen on pages
Night rises from the arroyo north of the city and turns
my house black.
I read under the hurricane lamp. The crickets move close,
the eyes of the yellow dog are open in a waking trance.
The town cannot afford a bright moon. Shooting stars
are clean as bells, voyaging planets slide close.
You cannot write them, there is no post office.
It is too far for the bus to come.
About the author
Henrie says he finds extra travel money by repairing, but not replacing his thirty-five-miles-to-the-gallon Honda Civic. His first trip was to North Africa, just…Read the full bio
Issue 20 · May 2014
Table of contents
- From the editors
- Two Poems by Kassandra Montag
- Two Poems by Bernard Henrie
- Two Poems by Anna Weaver
- Gifts: Naxos
- hands off
- Two poems by Gary Maggio
- Ukrainian Now
- Newport Mansions, Observed from the Cliff Walk
- Two poems by Pepper Trail
- First Day in Sydney, 1992
- Two Poems by Laurie Byro
- Train Kids
- Floating World
- Morning Trip to the Mechanic
- Transcendental Nocturne
- Two poems by Kim Suttell