Skip to main content

Sartana and Machete in Outer Space

ISSUE:  Summer 2021


        for Jessica Alba & Danny Trejo

There has been so much death. So much killing. 
From space, the wall along the Rio Grande 
isn’t even a shadow of a shadow. 

The rockets of his jetpack are cold now.  

His mamá named him Isador Cortez. 
México renamed him Machete. 
       a.k.a Navajas; a.k.a. Cuchillo. 

Isadoro is Greek for gift from Isis
the goddess who took the shape of a scorpion 
and healed the sick and raised the dead. 

How can I explain the man behind the legend? 
Not everything people say is true. 

For one, he never joined ICE. 
He was no good at following orders 
anyway, and yet, on Sunday mornings, 
while I slept, he’d stalk the neighborhood 
for pan dulce and barbacoa for tacos, 
       not too oily, not too dry. 

To the ladies my papi is puro catnip, a sabretooth bone, 
a walking Juan the Conquer root. 
Even the Selena statue whistled at him 
when we drove to Corpus 
so I could show him how to fish. 

When he was born, God said, 
You will be a Mexi-can, not a Mexi-can’t. 

He finishes rewiring the navigation system of a nuke 
he’s sitting on and winks at me. Outer space is cold. Colder 
even than the day he thought I was killed. 

We didn’t know the villain of the month 
had messed around with clones, 
so while I was held captive on a space station, 
my poor Machete put my double in the ground, 
Agent Sartana Rivera, 
while twenty-one guns saluted her. 

What did my man find when he followed the bad guy 
into space? Hundreds of kidnapped immigrants 
forced to build a space station at gunpoint. 

240,000 miles above Earth 
and it’s the same old shit as down there. 

Can you believe Cortez means polite? 
I lost count of how many bad guys 
he’s killed. He doesn’t even know. 
When I asked him once, he said, 
Machete don’t count
and then laughed so hard 
I thought the sombrero of the woman 
tattooed on his chest was going to fall off. 

Life hasn’t been all bad. He did find me here in space. 
You could say our love is galactic now. 

He’s only a cucuy to the pendejos 
who see gardeners, busboys, and maids 
when they look at us. What I see 
is not God’s scorpion or a hurricane of blades, 
but the man I love riding a nuclear missile like a Harley 
       into the mouth of a black hole. 

He’s like a chromed-out star that forgot how to fall. 

I know when my papi lights up the sky 
in a few minutes, people are gonna talk 
and say all the babies born today 
were born under a bad sign. 
The blister on my heart 
and this machete in my hand say different. 



This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Recommended Reading