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Jimmy Santiago Baca

(2 January 1952 / Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Meditations on the South Valley, Part XXIII


Pancho, the barrio idiot.
Rumor is that una bruja from Bernalillo
le embrujo. Unshaven, chattering
and nodding to airy friends
that follow him,
he roams the barrio all day.
I see him at least twice a day—
walking on the ditch behind my house,
hours later walking across the bridge.

Harmless, la gente leave him alone
in his own fantasies,
to share his bread with invisible companions,
to speak back to voices
that brim over from his childhood memories.

I have seen him
on all fours in Raul’s field
with the sheep. Or last Christmas
in the tree meowing like a cat.
You always fill my heart Pancho
with delight.

Submitted: Monday, January 02, 2012

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