Testament Scratched into a Water Station Barrel's image
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Testament Scratched into a Water Station Barrel

Eduardo C. CorralEduardo C. Corral June 16, 2020
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In the desert, the moon

shivers. Tonight, to stay awake, I’ll cut my feet

with glass.

Outside Oaxaca, in a clinic, my mother said,

“I hate your Indian face.”

In the dream I’m running. My limbs skeletal

and scabbed.

After my mother’s death, I found, in a box,

her wedding dress.

As I lifted the lid, a stench corkscrewed

into my nostrils:

the dress had curdled like milk. During the day

I gather tinder.

Paper. Shed snakeskin. When the last light

above the mountains

knots into stars, I crouch under mesquite,

make a fire.

Sometimes the moon stops shivering. Sometimes

I tally what I owe.

In the dream I’m running through a hallway.

The floor uneven.

The walls green. Last month, as my son blew out

the candles

on his cake, I noticed, for the first time,

the hideous shape

of his nose. Tonight I’ll pinch my thighs to stay

awake. My mother,

in the clinic, said, “The rain has a fever, it

needs plenty

of rest, it needs to drink plenty of water.” The doctor

scribbled in a file

then asked for more money. If my mother

could see me now!

My feet bloody. My face darker than ever.

Tonight, to stay awake,

I’ll sit close to the fire. In the dream I stumble,

but I never let go

of my right breast: an urn heavy with my own

ashes, an urn

I’m lugging God-knows-where.

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