an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

WINTER 2021-22

 

Donna Snyder

EL VIEJITO SINGS FOR ME

the old man is small but the mic makes his voice bold
he hits all the right notes and holds them just long enough
the sweet high ones clean as the resonant low
his music comes from a taped-together laptop
the speaker, about three feet high,
sits on a stool next to an empty jar
the accompaniment not too loud to chat
if one had a dinner partner

mariscos fresh as can be found in the Chihuahua Desert
limonada sweet, yet tart enough to evoke the reality of lime
la música tan romántica, el músico modest
with a knowing smile he croons Juan Gabriel
Trio Los Panchos without Eydie Gorme
Smoky Robinson and the Miracles
the old ones, songs that bring tears and memories
someone man enough to love me and proclaim it to all

he had said he loved me even still in his mother’s womb
sensed me like a deity in a temple makes itself known
87 god years he had promised to love me
pero, que lastima, he left me here sola, alone
I rail at him up there in el cielo lindo
shake my fist at clouds color rosa mexicana
as he taught me to call pink, the sky también
the color inside the pearly lip of a concha

outside the cafe the horizon turns bruised and gray
at home my dog worries as she waits in my bed
when I return she’ll whimper in excitement
happy to see me, but wishing for El Cute Boy
the one who holds her pure doggy heart
no more closely than a used tissue
the one who doesn’t live there anymore
the one ashamed of his years in my bed

the mood turns from grief to resentful bitterness
time to go home to a house of whispering shadows
join my boxer in the bed sized for a queen
but no queens live in that house

all the kings are dead
or gone

Donna Snyder has poetry collections published by Chimbarazu, Virgogray, and NeoPoiesis presses. She founded the grassroots literary Tumblewords Project in 1995 and continues to organize its free weekly workshops and other literary events in the borderlands around El Paso, Texas. Her poetry and book reviews appear in a number of anthologies and journals. Three of her poems are being translated into the Bangla language. She previously practiced law representing indigenous people, people with disabilities, and immigrant workers.