November 20, 2018

Maria from Monterey

I wrote this poem after visiting a photo exhibit at Mexic-Arte Museum in downtown Austin.

Maria from Monterey

It’s not terribly far, as a bird flies, from Monterey to Laredo
Young Maria’s journey was wingless
She moved at night, her thirst unsatisfied
Coyotes and owls shared their star-lit canyons
When she slept she had bad dreams of home

Maria finished fourth grade at Santo Nino Elementary
The family moved to San Antonio for a year
English slid smoothly from her tongue
Sister Sarah said she could go to college
“Do they have scholarships for Dreamers?”

Her softball coach was no Nun
Her history teacher spit white lies
Maria found some solace in science
She played her flute by the lake
Butterflies swooned, Suzy, the poodle exhaled

The people of Laredo named her “Best Dental Hygienist”
Maria was always careful with the instruments
Her husband the handsome highway engineer
They made friends with other parents at the pool
She never served a casserole

When Don descended the neighbors turned
The lady at daycare asked for her papers
The dental group let her go
America turned its lights down
Maria cursed the powers that be

Now, heavy white clouds roll in from the Gulf
Torrential rains pound the dry Earth
Maria bathes half-naked in the yard
Her minerality is pure Meximerican
Her spirit, mighty Texican

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Category

Literature, Place, Politics