Mennonite Poetry Home | Robert Martens




the border's battered
as a piñata. my buddy
buys a stetson
at a chicken and sombrero
shop. a beggar paddles by
on a wooden trolley. nightfall
in texico. and strangely,
enchiladas are hard to find in
downtown el paso. "well,
there's always the colonel,"
says my buddy. we
sit down in a red resin
booth to plateloads
of chicken and fries. and a
mexican kid is standing
next to our table, right palm
extended, where the hell did he
come from, as if
from nowhere, a
beggar and madonna
miracle. i have
surplus chicken. he has
a belly to fill. we could
negotiate, trade across the
border. but we
stare. just for a moment,
but too long and hard for a
fast food empire. because

the manager notices, spits
angry spanish, does a favour
for two dusty travellers, for
the safe streets of el paso,
and the kid scampers. sometimes
i detest these words. sometimes i
crave pardon for the narrow night
of my birth. in a
desert of borders and betrayals,
beneath the motherly lean
of saguaro, a
mexican boy waits for me,
as a rattlesnake.

© Robert Martens




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