I am offering this poem to you,
since I have nothing else to give.
Keep it like a warm coat,
when winter comes to cover you,
They turn the water off, so I live without water,
they build walls higher, so I live without treetops,
they paint the windows black, so I live without sunshine,
they lock my cage, so I live without going anywhere,
Behind the smooth texture
Of my eyes, way inside me,
A part of me has died:
I move my bloody fingernails
No matter how serene things
may be in my life,
how well things are going,
my body and soul
I prefer red chile over my eggs
and potatoes for breakfast.
Red chile ristras decorate my door,
dry on my roof, and hang from eaves.
Everybody to sleep the guard symbolizes
on his late night tour of the tombs.
When he leaves, after counting still bodies
wrapped in white sheets, when he goes,
Is a question of strength,
of unshed tears,
of being trampled under,
and always, always,
behave yourself you always said to me.
I behaved myself
when others were warm in winter
It was a time when they were afraid of him.
My father, a bare man, a gypsy, a horse
with broken knees no one would shoot.
Then again, he was like the orange tree,
An acquaintance at Los Alamos Labs
who engineers weapons
black x’d a mark where I live
on his office map.