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In Colorado My Father Scoured and Stacked Dishes

Eduardo C. CorralEduardo C. Corral June 16, 2020
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in a Tex-Mex restaurant. His co-workers,

unable to utter his name, renamed him Jalapeño.


If I ask for a goldfish, he spits a glob of phlegm

into a jar of water. The silver letters


on his black belt spell Sangrón. Once, borracho,

at dinner, he said: Jesus wasn’t a snowman.


Arriba Durango. Arriba Orizaba. Packed

into a car trunk, he was smuggled into the States.


Frijolero. Greaser. In Tucson he branded

cattle. He slept in a stable. The horse blankets


oddly fragrant: wood smoke, lilac. He’s an illegal.

I’m an Illegal-American. Once, in a grove


of saguaro, at dusk, I slept next to him. I woke

with his thumb in my mouth. ¿No qué no


tronabas, pistolita? He learned English

by listening to the radio. The first four words


he memorized: In God We Trust. The fifth:

Percolate. Again and again I borrow his clothes.


He calls me Scarecrow. In Oregon he picked apples.

Braeburn. Jonagold. Cameo. Nightly,


to entertain his cuates, around a campfire,

he strummed a guitarra, sang corridos. Arriba


Durango. Arriba Orizaba. Packed into

a car trunk, he was smuggled into the States.


Greaser. Beaner. Once, borracho, at breakfast,

he said: The heart can only be broken


once, like a window. ¡No mames! His favorite

belt buckle: an águila perched on a nopal.


If he laughs out loud, his hands tremble.

Bugs Bunny wants to deport him. César Chávez


wants to deport him. When I walk through

the desert, I wear his shirt. The gaze of the moon


stitches the buttons of his shirt to my skin.

The snake hisses. The snake is torn.



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