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Summer Of The Sparrow - Poem by Esteban Arellano

“Remember the sparrows,
their chicks-

the weight, the heaviness
hung on a thin piece of skin,
as though gravity was about to pull
their huge heads off.
Chingados hermano, why did we kill them.
It wasn’t right.

It wasn’t right.”

“Ismael, ” I whispered,
“it was you who killed them.”

My words fluttered in the treetops,
fled across the sky
with raven,
with sparrow,
rose above the clouds
and vanished into space.

“All the flies in the universe came, ” he said.
“It was as though the cosmos was a billion,
trillion dark flies and they collapsed on his head.
He was a f*cking black hole sucking in the light,
until all that was left was a black mass of pinché flies -
house flies
horse flies
gad flies
zebra flies
flies, ” he chuckled.

Snake slithered up my thigh
coiled around my b*lls and squeezed
then raised his head and struck.

“Why bro’, ” he asked. “Why did we do it? ”
I simply shrugged.

“Hermano, I was having a hell of a dream.
I was on a river bank, stuck in a mud hole.
There I was, Coyote, making love to earth,
my bushy tail frantically wagging.
Sh*t, I started laughing.
I laughed so hard I f*rted thunder,
shot lightening out my a*s and lit up the sky -
that’s when I woke, that’s when I heard them,
that’s when I smelled it.”

There was a strange poison in my veins
and I silently prayed, brother Snake leave,
but his fangs were deep in my heart
and my words were dead.

“It was everywhere, ” he continued.
“It was in the cottonfields,
in the chicken-coop, in the garden.
I stumbled towards the barn.
Don’t know if I walked like a stork
because of fear or la mota.

he was missing for three days.
All this time he was in his Chevy truck
behind the goddamned barn;
before, we’d always find him
with his acordeón and Lonestars,
and mom and dad would ground him for a week,
then he’d be in his room sniffing glue
- that little f*ck.”

There was a pause, then he said,
“Hermano, what we did
- It was wrong.”

I wanted to scream -
Ismael, it was you who killed them;
but Instead, I just nodded.

“Bro, ’ it was a black mass -
hanging on a sparrow’s neck,

All the flies in creation were there,
light was squeezed to the other side,
and his huge, dark head dangled from the window.
I thought any second it would be

A breeze fanned the windmill,
the shaft clanked, from the bushes
a bobwhite exploded and shredded space.

“Why did we do it bro? ’
We kept count till we lost track.
We hated those little f*ckers
- remember? ”

Snake, release me, I demanded,
but I had no authority,
and there were no words
only evening light
and the song
of the Sparrow.

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