My mother is 21,
conjuring María Félix, smolder
She is the sound of freeways at rush hour
crashing hips. Hourglassed—an ache.
She wears a beehive of unanswered questions:
Curios, feathers, silences, heart songs, grafted tongue.
Tangerine mouth, pouting
lips. She is engaged to Rubén González.
She is cleaning houses.
She is walking home
late with the moon.
It’s the sound you hear
when you turn off your TV.
It’s the sound that old men make at night
as they’re sleeping on the sidewalk,
outside an empty loft building.
It’s the sound of air escaping your mouth
after you get the notice
that the rent is increasing.
It’s that same sound you heard
when you tore up that ticket
They still built the wall. Even though we marched downtown,
jackets and ties peering down from high rises as we shouted,
¡Muro, no. Pueblo sí! After we shut down Paisano, horns
pressed, sage smoke rising, matachines barefoot and rattling.
After we sipped sangre de Cristo through chain links year
after year on Día de los Muertos. After our mayors declared,
¡Ya basta! San Diego to Brownsville. After amas pushed
strollers from Douglas to San Elizario. After comadres
from Mujer Obrera, striking hungry, cuffed themselves to
the Whitehouse gates and chanted, ¡Obama, escucha, estamos
en la lucha! After Red Fronteriza. Hands across the Border.