The coyote ambles down the middle of Chester Street
and I mistake it for its domestic cousins
but it’s stouter, a strange gray white,
directionless, undecided. My dog may know
it’s not a dog because he stares blankly back at it
without his temperamental bark and growl.
When I wake, I look out the window
and see Jesus descending a tornado
in the front yard. He’s all arms-out, white robe,
gold sash, a pair of Pope-like slippers.
He’s glowing, iridescent—
more rainbow than a postcard.
I grew up in a farmworking family.
No, that’s not accurate—it’s incomplete.
I grew up in a family of farmworking women.
The hands of our sisters, tías, cousins, mothers,
and abuelas have worked the fields, worked to feed us,
worked to raise us, worked to protect and provide for us.
I love my mom but the truth is that my sisters raised me.
Farmwork would not survive without women,
nor would farmworker families.
On 88th, the street where I lived as a girl when an hour could seem an eternity, it would be years before I met the young man who pointed out that those numbers, turned on their sides, had a special meaning. What meaning? I wondered and pondered the two unbroken loops pinched at their centers, forever returning to themselves like a pair of ice skaters tracing figure eights into a state of bliss. I wondered if he thought that love is infinite, that our souls will live forever, that sky even on crystalline days moves into unseeable endless space. I was thinking that the iris of his hazel eyes pulled me into a place where I could feel lost or float before thought was possible, as if in vitro. I no longer live on 88th Street, having left double infinity in its impossible realm. Because infinity cannot be multiplied or divided—infinity just is. Still, I was grateful that I didn’t live on Main Street or Elm, and the young man I married found meaning on that finite block in Queens where he found me.
in the coachella valley
children go to school and learn how to internalize silence
girls sit pretty with pigtails wrapped in bubble-ball hair ties
learn how to cast their eyes downward
so that when they ask the class what do you want to be when you grow up?
boys respond, i want to work in the fields like my dad
Like a booster detached from a shuttle, my body
Ended up in an ocean while fog enshrouded my mind.
Xanax never made me feel that unsteady; it just didn’t
Agree with Lamictal. I was glad my wife could cease
Preparing herself mentally before coming home; I’d been a
Rakshasa for months & appeared to be normal
Overnight, but the low dose made me immune to emotion.
Lifting Visqueen veils spread over little darlings, selecting seedlings to set each predawn rise. We coffeed up, chewed rumors, shared ourselves wherever needed without a hint of roundworm belly, malathion burn, or pay bounce still to come.