Downriver Río Grande Ghazalion
by Emmy Pérez
Drive into the Valley, past a field of old farm equipment.
Near the tip of Tejas: sal del rey, blatant farm equipment.
I never bent into onion fields or declined sweet strawberries.
The kid in everyone’s kitchen, escaping farm equipment.
When I think about seeing you, I want to jump on your back.
I confess—you’re sexy, luxury—let’s paint equipment
The color of parakeets congregating, squawking on 10th
Street McAllen power lines, strip mall trees, fading equipment.
99 cent meals. Surreal pickles like vine fetuses in jars.
Wrinkled wienies on a Stripes treadmill, saintly farm equipment.
Julia (te necesito) ¿dónde estás? ¿En el barrio
De nuestra nostalgia? ¿En el Río Grande de Loíza?
shell and bone
shards and kernels
incan farm terraces
seedless watermelons, grapes
cherries still need their pits
suck and spit them like chew
Sometimes I defer to the blues, tejanas, two chachalacas
Rustling in ebanos, and ebanos in chachalacas
Agha Shahid Ali prayed for each couplet’s own identity
Sin fronteras. Linked by rhyme, refrain, y su nombre de diosas
Snake, bobcat, great horned owl, pauraque, bats, tlacuache
Burrowing vato owls protect their land, urban EPT.
Return? To rivers, loves, monte, el chalán? Erase citrus?
So-called fences? Faith in Boca Chica~Gulf of México, fresh salt-
Salt is old, older than cranium.
What’s older? Salt or water?
It’s time to move beyond binaries, old loves. Remember eyes.
Not love but eyes—eyes are love. Yes. Remember the smell of skin
El día en que tú naciste, nacieron todas las flores.
The scent of water. A tolerance for ambiguity
In nepantla: between Hurricanes Dolly and Alex
Leaf cuts the ants clip and carry
It takes hours to defang cactus. You nursed an orange all of
Christmas Day; at night, just before going to bed, you ate it.
A ~ marks your open text unions. Sign your ~name in email,
Feel your flirty ambiguity, friendly besito.
“Downriver Río Grande Ghazalion” has quotes from Gloria Anzaldúa’s “Borderlands/La Frontera,” the traditional song “Las Mañanitas,” and Richard Wright’s “Black Boy.”
Emmy Pérez is the author of “Solstice” (Swan Scythe Press, 2011, 2nd ed). Recent work has appeared in Mandorla, The Laurel Review, Diálogo, and New Border Voices. A member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop and an inaugural CantoMundo fellow, Pérez is an associate professor at the University of Texas-Pan American.