Nocturne

            Yes, your face like asphalt dust on my tongue
whenever it rains. I’ll say it’s the last time I call,
            tomorrow. In your arms it won’t be the same,
each step farther from the border. Gin and tonics.
            Tequila grapefruits. I threw that black mug
at your face after gin, after tequila, I didn’t know
            Enrique’s Journey would trigger me,
I’m sorry. I drank too much. I drink too much,
            yes, I know. It wasn’t me who threw it,
I said, but it was. It’s me who needs to learn
            how to face grandpa’s bullet shells,
bottles, broken chairs, doors he woke us up with.
            I was four. I saw Mom between his gun
and Grandma. I was four. I need to forgive
            the coins he placed in my hands
to buy him vodka. Grandpa chased every single
            one of his daughters with his machete
in the middle of the day, in the middle of the night,
            I didn’t know what to do except climb
the water tower across the street with Red Power Ranger.
            He’s chased us to this country
that trained him to stay quiet when “his boss”
            put prisoners in black bags, then pushed them
out the truck, “for everyone to see what happens
            to bad people here.” Gin, straight up.
Tequila shots. I’ve picked up the shards in our apartment,
            wiped the black smudge next to our bed,
promised never to do it again, that I’ll seek help,
            but I don’t. I make an excuse. No one understands
why Abuelita never left him. It’s mid-June,
            Venus and Mars the closest they’ve been
in 2,000 years, but I’ve never seen grandparents hug,
            or hold hands. I make an excuse.
You kept rubbing your hands. When I turned six
            grandpa quit drinking. He stayed at home
at night but never talked to us. He didn’t like gin.
            Didn’t like writers. Didn’t like leftists.
Everyone gone except one aunt. You’re not here.
            Tomorrow, tampoco. These walls snore
like grandpa’s slurred shouts. I thought the border
            would take him. All my aunts,
my mom, thought so too. We’re all running
            from the sun on his machete.
The moon on his gun.
More Poems by Javier Zamora