French Roast, La Silencia Resistencia in California

French Roast, La Silencia Resistencia in California | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Courtesy of Alpha/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).


My cup of coffee has gone
stale in the late afternoon and it hits
me as the cloudy stuffiness of suburbia creeps
through the kitchen screen door:
    assault is a part of the social stream
    a chokehold, a lump of saliva
    wedged against the back of my throat.

Hues are heavy against the chest when
    news cycles saturate the temporal lobe—
along state lines men and women are fettered
against wire, children are cooped in Texas, Arizona, and California
join the ranks
    as I sip grounds,
I imagine a pound of pebbles down the river, sleek dark
bodies washed, rinsed, smothered,
the sun spattered across open backs.

You ask me what it’s like to be
a young woman in a position of authority,
    I understand the illusion,
Like nopales
riddled with strident spines birthed from areoles,
I do protect, I like to think,
       I too,
       can provide a reservoir
for thirst, an abdomen full of water, could transform
    my academic consumption
    underpaid, overworked body,
into La Résistance, a modern Los Angeles dream
of children working against the flood building
a playground of bread and light. Watch them—
their arms stretched with a ravished want,
clenched palms
jumping rope
as they go
breath, respira
       breath amor breath.

Idalith Bustos is an Acapulco native who enjoys high elevations, mountains, and a good plate of mole, and currently lives in Southern California. She received her MFA in poetry from California State University, Long Beach.
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