Comment: Over The River And Through The Woods ...

(See in situ)

Over The River And Through The Woods ...

... to out of the Village they go ...

By Jimmy Santiago Baca

for Tony

I could not disengage my world

                               from the rest of humanity.

                               Wind chill factor 11° below. All night

wind thrashes barechested trees

like a West Texas tent evangelist

                               hissing them on his knees,


                                        sinnn . . . sinn . . . sinn . . .

                                        All night wind preaches.

Old tool shed

behind my house

fist-cuffs itself to nail-loose tin,

horse pasture gates

clank their crimes,

while neighing black stallions of rain

stampede on the patio

fleeing gunshots of thunder . . . .

Miles south of here,

nightscopes pick up human heat

that green fuzz helicopter

dash panels.

                  A mother whispers,

      “Sssshhhh mejito, nomás poco más allá.

                                 Nomás poco más allá.”

Dunes of playing-dead people

jack rabbit under strobe lights

and cutting whack/blades,

                  “Ssshhh mejito.

                  Sssshhhh.” Child whimpers

                  and staggers in blinding dust

                  and gnashing wind.

Those not caught, scratch sand up

to sleep against underbellies

of roots and stones.

Eventually Juanito comes to my door,

sick from eating stucco chips—

his meals scratched off

walls of temporary shelters,

and Enrique, who guzzled water

at industrial pipes

pouring green foam out

at the El Paso/Juarez border,

and Maria steaming with fever,

face dark meteorite, whispers,

                  “Where I come from, Señor Baca,

                  a woman’s womb is a rock,

                  and children born from me,

                  drop like stones, to become dust

                  under death squad’s boots.”

And Juanito,

                  “They came at midnight

                  and took my brothers. I have

                  never seen them since. Each judge’s tongue

                  is a bleeding stub of death, and each lawyer’s

                  finger a soft coffin nail.”

And Enrique,

                  “You can trust no one.

                  Each crying person’s eye is a damp cellar

                  where thieves and murderers sleep.”

They have found refuge here

at Black Mesa.

The sun passes between our lives,

as between two trees,

one gray, one green,

but side by side.

Shoulder to shoulder.

Offshore Safe House for the Railroaded Underground

'Come in' ...