Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Send Away

Her name was Arcadia Bibiana Kitchen
and her red hair came from Appalachia
along with her freckles and thin skin,
while her attitude migrated with her mother
from south of the southernmost border.

When Mama couldn’t hear,
Daddy called her Archie.

“Listen to me, mijita.
There are two things
you never tolerate from a man.

One, you never let him hit you
twice. A single bruise
is a forgivable sin – send him
to confession. If he ever makes
a second, you handle his temper
with a machete.

Second, never let him leave you.
Oh, you can send a pendejo away
anytime you want, no problem;
but, a real woman knows how
to keep her amorcito.”

He’s heading toward the door!
Think, Archie, think.
Block the doorway.
Do not let him leave.
Stand your ground.
Oh, no. You’d better not
use that fist again, baby.
Stare him down, Archie.
Remind him what he has to lose.
Relax, baby. That’s right.
Let me kiss that mark off your cheek.
Don’ t ever make me send you away.

“I’m so sorry, carinito.”

“Damnit, Archie, stop that crying.
You’re going to scare him off.
We’ve talked about this.
Wipe your eyes.

Raise the gun.
Don’t go giving yourself away.
Steady. Breathe.
Take good aim.
Start to squeeze.
Send away."

Poetry Quarterly - Fall 2011

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