Monday, April 07, 2008

"Poem For the Holtville Burial Grounds, For the Undocumented Dead"

Poem For the Holtville Burial Grounds,
For the Undocumented Dead

(after a photo by Francisco J. Dominguez)

All of you is a cross to bear,
single and quantum, solo and
quota. The erasures, barely a scratch
on the earth, a heart's indentation,
a lateral fall under the desert sun.

Take this son, these mother's hands,
these blistered lips and withered
femurs. Make a claim for what
was written there: a crumbling treaty,
a signed agreement, a spit
on the street and a ticket
to the last act they will ever perform.

Play this lottery and bust
the house: the lives, the lives, the lives,
until you get it right and she
gets away with her life. He
gets away with murder. They
get away with an entire country.
And they are left here — a remembrance,
a resistance, a solid will.

Read it in the absent eyes,
the listless stance, the all
about tomorrow — now. We walk
among the living in the dead. We dream
about precision. And a watch
beeps, unaware, and a justice
is determined. Don't separate yourself
from them. A glass of water's
all it takes. A word. An act of God.

Lorna Dee Cervantes

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