Skip to main content

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.


By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Recommended Reading