Little Chihuahita shadowed beside Segundo barrio.
A dead German sheperd with a broken neck lies
on the side of the street for days. The stench
of El Paso’s sewage in the air, a Mexican flag hugely
flaps itself above the chain-linked fence
topped with razor wire. In the morning blue mountains
smog. South side of the border a man jogs.
The river’s bank green, small trees bob in the wind
like truffle-treats, mirage. Each day thousands cross
the open bridge, both ways,
each night they go home to sleep silence. Cars hum
and wait for hours like sleeping cats. A cemented river
half-dried, even the canal drains away. Some say droves
of shadows at night move ghost-like through the dying river.
These people grow invisible, as if air, irrelevant and holy;
at night I can hear the whisper of my grandfather,
“all the angels live in Juárez.”
There is an old language broken in my throat.
Some eyes mistake me for shadow. When I speak my voice
a fearful phantom. In spring dust storms come, the sky
browns, my visage half-forms beneath the Italian cypress;
and when the day’s moon is full in its silence,
I am afraid of my own darkness.