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.