On the Day of the Dead
On the day of the dead, Pablo put on his pants
one mummified foot at a time. It wasn't
his fault, rain was the true culprit. Clouds
followed his feet for years, poured whenever
he tried to cut bread in the City of Glass.
His soles cracked, sprouting roots.
Julia entertained on her balcony, levitating
intimate secrets. People on 42nd Street
attributed her faculties to a santero visiting
her family on the day she was born.
She stood tall and elegant like the mountains
to the south of Black Island, Pablo's home.
Her face had all the traces of unforgettable pain.
They married; Julia, carried down the aisle
by old lovers, found the last bottle of rum
hidden in the trash before the wedding.
She bled life into a gutter, no one recited her verses.
No one knew she was ambassador to the Island of Poetry.
Pablo was one mummified foot at a time closer
to banging pots and starvation, medicine denied,
orders from the dictator. They are gone
but I keep their marriage vows to read out loud
on the day of the dead.
Copyright © 2008 Sergio A. Ortiz Published in Literary Journal
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