Wednesday, October 12, 2016

On a Dirt Road Outside Oaxaca by Javier Zamora

On a Dirt Road Outside Oaxaca

The Mexican never said how long.
¿How long? Not long. ¿How much?
Not much. Never told us we’d hide in vans like matchsticks.

In our town, we’d never known Mexicans
besides the women and men in soap-operas,

so in our heads, we played the fence,
the San Ysidro McDonald’s, a quick run, a van, then, ¡Eureka!
Just like that.

Not long, not long at all. In Oaxaca,
a small brown lizard licks horchata from my hand—
we’re friends, we pick names for each other.

Hola Paula. Hola Javier, she says.
We play the fence, a quick run, the van ...

¿How long? Not long. On the dirt,
our knees tell truths to the cops’ front-sights and barrels.
¿How much? Not much.

We’d never known Mexicans besides Chente,
Chavela Vargas. We’re on the dirt
like dogs showing nipples

to offspring, it’s not spring,
and we’re going to where there is spring,

we say it’s gonna be alright,
it’s gonna be just fine—
my hands play with Paula.


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