Sneaking Your Dead Body into Mexico

Sneaking Your Dead Body into Mexico | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Courtesy of Orin Zebest/Flickr (CC BY 2.0).


             Mexico lindo y querido, muero lejos de ti, que digan que estoy

             dormido, y que me traigan aqui.

                     —song by Jorge Negrete


Let the sky flip and shake off its dust onto your forehead.

There is no time for rites. Every time you slept

the clouds would fill their lungs and hold.


So when we saw them panting that Sunday, we realized

it was no nap. We proceeded, did what you always told us we must do.


In the car, you looked as if you were about to crane your neck

forward to get off the car. Grandpa propped you up with his cane

          and we drove the fifty miles


to the border. We never thought life would deliver you dead

to the country that carved you out of its womb, never thought

we’d have to sneak you back. We told customs you were asleep

and one of the children giggled on cue.

          They don’t care what goes into Mexico.


At the graveyard, we hung strands of wax paper

           off your shoulders, fingernailed

your scalp clean until you were but a mere freckle

in that Mexican graveyard. Around your fresh pile of dirt,

we scattered broken glass,

          like twinkling eyes looking up at tired clouds.

Nayelly Barrios is a Rio Grande Valley native currently living in New Orleans. She spends her time writing, sitting on her porch, and working as a real estate agent.
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