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Guadalajara Hospital


ISSUE:  Autumn 1978
I watch the orderly stack the day’s dead;
men on one cart, women on the other,
You sit two feet away, sketching
and drinking tequila.
I raise my taffeta skirt above the garter,
take out the pesos
and lay them beside you.
I don’t hold out on you.
I shove my hand under my skirt, way up,
find the damp ten dollar bill.
You’re on top. You call the shots.
You said we’d make it here and we have.
I make them pay for it.

Later, we walk close,
smoking from one cigarette,
until it’s gone. I take your arm.
Next stop end of the line, You pull me to you
and stick your tongue deep in my mouth.
I bite it. We struggle. You slap me.
I lean over the hood of the car.
You clamp a handkerchief between your teeth,
take the pesos and ten dollar bill from your pocket
and tear them up.
Then you get in the car
and I slide in beside you.

When we finally cross the border,
I stare out the back window.
The Virgin Mary’s back there
in her husband Mendoza’s workroom.
She’s sitting on a tall stool,
her black lace dress rolled up above her knees,
the red pumps dangling from her feet,
while he puts the adz to a small coffin;
a psalm of hammer and emptiness
only the two of them understand.
You say sister, breathe with me. We’re home, now, home. But I reach back, back through the window.
Virgin Mary, help me. Save me.
Tear me apart with your holy, invisible hands.

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