A Photograph from the Revolution:
Guaymas to Nogales

--A photograph from the Mexican Revolution exists in which as far as one can see into the distance men have been hung from every telephone pole.

One woman weeps, and shouts,
gets sick on the sand, slumps against
a gray and greasy maguey plant.
Past praying, picked by its tiny
teeth, she is too tired to bother
as the blood bakes.  Her back is numb.

Her husband is hanging; ahead, another
hundred husbands hang with him.
Women are wandering, new widows, heavy
with hunger, with heat.  Here the Cause
flies its flags.  A fever moves
among these mothers, making one noise.

The Lime Orchard Woman (New York: Sheep
         Meadow, 1988).

Top of Page

What a Lemon Teaches

Lemons.  I like them.  Light, and green,
Gardener's green, golfball shapes.
In summer, some days, I sip them
Tenderly through, take their insides
Into my idle, my ice-numb mouth,
Their meat amusing, making my face
Fall to the floor, or farther still,
My sugar saved, for sucking, or for horses.

Lemons.  I lick them, like the bitter
Biting of their borders, whose breath suggests
A jumping, aging juxtapositions, folded
Fists, fire's phlegm as it lingers.

Limón.  Mamá, ¡qué amarga la limonada!
Another name names me.
My mother's mother,
mamá, speaks
Her special sounds, secret in my ear:
I hear bees, ease my way
Toward the woman, and wait for more.
I move my mouth, mimicking hers:
How heavy, how full
It feels, and afraid: of failing, of not
Having knelt enough, not like her legs.

Lemons.  I live them,
el limón,
The meat, my mother's mother's scream:
The sour skin--her sweat--for what
One winter wildly would be
A baby.  A boy.  Alberto.  Albertito.
You take your time tonight, she says.
Be sad.  Suffer.  Shake in your bed.

Be brave in biting lemons.
Love to take a long, a long time.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow--remember
This moment, me; remember how
I hold your hand, and Hurt you, you
So young: allá, the yellow lemons,
Like them less.  Love me.
Make me the marrow in your bones.

I bite.  It's bitter.  I break a skin
Of celebration, suck the seeds, and spit.

The Bloomsbury Review.  Vol. 8, No. 4, July/August,

Return to Forms of Verse

Top of Page