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Rigoberto Gonzalez – Ⅲ

Abuelo Catches Up on World Events, and Then Dozes Off 




Scene, scene, scene on the television screen:

eye sockets coaxed out of building walls, a woman’s

grief spills from the cracked cups of her hands

and all ignore the shriek behind the mesh


of her teeth. Who are these people who can sleep

through the screeching of melting tin? They must be

dreaming gardens to be flowering such redness

without rain. Their breathing splatters the dust in green.


I have seen this woman stumble in her black dress

so often, she’s memory: my mother choking

on her last meal when I was seventeen. The square

buckles on her shoes open into six feet of darkness


and a sudden glare of glass reminds me the caretaker’s

near with a shovel and a bottle of gin. My sister

is the woman praying on her knees but since her Spanish

sounds like gibberish the gods will not be reached.


By evening news my sister’s voice will have vanished

and my mother will be wandering the footage

of a conflict a continent away, her cries out-begged

by the din of the sponsor’s merchandise. Eyes numb,


I lean back in the couch that poisons the room with roses.