“I Heard the Cries of Two Hundred Children”
I heard the cries of two hundred children
bleating in the desert.
They were not two hundred but two thousand,
not one at all, not
so much as a lost shepherd
with a skinny herd of goats
but only the wind pretending
to be the ocean’s roar.
I heard more
of the cry of children’s ghosts
the who who sleep on cathedral steps,
and who swerve through traffic,
little clowns and fire-eaters,
with contaminated water and shine shoes
with hepatitis spit, pick pockets
in the metro and pull your sleeve
on the street
while behind a dark window of the Palacio Nacional
the president looks out
concerned about the national deficit,
a highway built by narco-trafficking King,
and the latest accusations of election fraud.
I heard the children’s cries in the desert
but it was a storm
like storms can be in the desert
majestic and terrible,
lightning swords pierces
Three swords went through my heart, and
came out on the other side.
You think you are alone in the desert
but you are not; so many eyes watching you.
cactus worm, scorpion hides.
The withering snake, wide-winged crow
in the sky, coyotes call to each other
in the dark.
The sky too is watching you,
Coyolxiauqui, Warrior Queen
does battle each night,
her four hundred children stand guard.
Are they who call you,
and not Mexico’s young,
not the ghost of your mother at eleven
who scrubbed floors for a plate of food?
Is that you? I call, and I think someone answers.
I think it is her, my death mother
marching across the Tropic of Cancer,
marching with four hundred sky children,
feasting on the wind.
(from I ASK THE IMPOSSIBLE)