Those Seventy-Two Bodies Belong to Us

After the 2010 San Fernando massacre
Para Luis

You novelize a route with flesh dumped at the ranch, can’t backtrack
the courage of miles we traversed in the dark, on a sighing speedboat,

through jungles that spat only shoes, calzones, bodies twisted
as guitarras when there’s no grito left in them to pluck. Back home,

we priested our mornings with sun-dried sombreros, communed
with our ghosts & had no wish to sacrifice our bellies, our terneros,

our Consuelos. With wings from acero, we’d crash latitudinal 
mystify Bengay on the mouths of our map-torn feet, pay no heed

to grief’s ambidextrous strophes. If we choked on our own blood
we harpooned optimism. But when the vans deadlocked our 

we knew our shadows had crumbed the anesthetic vultures.
They pressed their loaded beaks upon our backs until our knees bent

sour orange. One asked if we served the enemy, but we took enemy
to mean a seed that sits quietly underfoot, abashed to vestibule

the grating sun. Blindfolded, we faced the gloom volcanoes
of their mothers. How those mothers might’ve screamed like ours

in their tortured independence: bloody thunder in the brown-starched
symphonies, a wind that howled & shoved its thumbs through feral lands

probing for judgment or commiseration. Chingado god that copycatted
these legs from monotony. Chingado god that hewed our wrists,

a pair of stems to strap behind our wrested boots & jeans. Whoever
supplied a plea to that deviant afternoon’s rationed blessings

neglected to add chile, sazón, a nosegay of tortillas to the long road.
Mothers who’ve come to reclaim our tongues in the dirt: remind us

of the braids in the phrasings of our dreams before we vanished. Pat
the ground for the bodkinned orchids. Wasn’t it yesterday we were

siphoning forecasts with our fingers roving on the table? Or caught
your chests pain-leavened & stilled them with the rumpus of our hopes?

More Poems by Roy G. Guzmán