She held the weapon
Loosely at her curved hip.
Roses, blood dripped from the barrel.
My heart knew danger, her love.
We knew walls would not save us.
Knew rosaries, almost sung
Were tamed spirits of black jaguars,
Arnica's soft form rested against a rubber tree,
Our eyes met across encroaching, iridescent fog.
We knew deaths' desire for us.
I had grown accustomed
To drinking Portuguese Port wine alone
At a small table outside the Café Purlina.
Where I could gaze across the blackness
Of the São Fransisco River
At the dim lights of Jaziero de Bahia,
The place of my youth.
I can no longer recall
When I last crossed the São Fransisco River
Can not recall the unknown desires
That led me to the midnight ferry.
Those desires, neither sinister nor benevolent,
Led me away from the beautiful city,
Juaziero de Bahia.
My mind was possessed with an incredible strangeness.
This strangeness demanded that I cross the river at night.
I joined the Brundello Sosa Company of Comedios Musicale
As the front man who arranged all the shows
Ahead of the travelling troupe.
In all the 30 years that I worked for the Brundello Sosa Company
I never saw a single show,
Never laughed at a single staged joke.
I see the lights of the ferry coming,
I order another bottle of Portuguese Port, some bread and butter.
Ponocito never cared for sunsets
He claimed they ruined beautiful days
Spent with his murdered daughter, Mara
We, in the Chiapas hills, with our machetes,
Old carbines, soggy ammunition
Were terrified of the night
Not because of the wild cats, wolves, spirits of the dead
We were afraid of ourselves
What darkness made us do
We would change a little
With the death of each blood-red ray
Slowly became murderers of men
Arsonists of homes
Ponocito was ferocious, proud and brave
We will miss him
Forty cases of wind chimes
Covered me and my box of parrots
The old man that lives within me
Perched on the tailgate, smoking
I fell asleep to the whine of the old truck's tires
Silky-cool liquids poured over my skin
No more fields of stones,
No more too-small ears of corn
Inside my body great flocks of swallows
Sang and dived into me
Coming and going
Carried off the roots and insects
Of my life in Chiapas
Carried off the tiny bones
Of the woman who had punctured my veins
Shadows knocked over a lantern
Gathered close by, waited
For the track of the sun being left behind
Night dampened my clothes
I blended with the darkness
An uncomforted widower, a raven
Leaving too late a dead world
Cages of parrots spoke me awake
A young woman with dark hair,
A stranger, slept beside me
Beneath crates of wind chimes
She had a tiny gold ring
On the middle finger of her left hand
A five of clubs tucked in her sash
She awoke, said "Buenos dias, Ponocito."
Said her name was Mara
That doves flew from her lips
She said an old man came to her
After a priest had given her last rites
Brought her to where I was sleeping
In the bed of an old truck
Told her my name
Said wounds would heal
Mara said that his skin was rusted copper
His eyes, shadows of dark angels
That his name was Ponocito too
The truck's engine roared to life