A boxcar in July by Sissy Buckles

 

In the 60s we were babies
her son and me now it’s 1988
and 5AM dawning in his
mother’s living room
“a poem is some remembering”
said Robert Bly and I’m
trying my best not to look
at a strange fat man’s
naked tootsies
on the spotless rug
in Rancho Bernardo
the community part of the
old Mexican land grant
issued in 1842
Conrad’s heart of darkness
in pink wake-up feet
clean socks and loafers
a powder blue striped leisure suit
with a matching pastel matron
upright dummies picking teeth
in a vinyl booth
smeared with Denny’s
coffee shop grease
from the senior starter
eggs/hash browns
underdone soggy white toast
rancid margarine
en route to the Tijuana aeropuerto
and a flight to Acapulco
chauffeuring his well-bred
mom & her beau taking a
vacation to visit our friendly
neighbors in the south
I forgot my beaded handbag
bought at Purple Heart Thrift Store
in her locked car
w/the bumper sticker
‘a woman’s place is in the mall’
the old mans’ wet
strawberry slicked lips
hanging open
amazed
that his house in Peñasquitos
was broken into twice
a year to the day
almost apart
now he keeps his Cadillac
in the garage to guard
against birdy doodoos and
dirty day labor illegal
migrants living in the nearby
hills & arroyos with their
thieving plastic bags —
in the newspaper I’d read about
eighteen of them involved in
what the authorities called
a bungled smuggling attempt
and violently perishing in a
locked steel-walled boxcar
they boarded at El Paso
90 miles northwest
of Sierra Blanca on the
brutal Texas-Mexican border
the guy supposed to
unlock it at the end of the line
missed his queue while
fierce120 degree heat
sizzled their lungs
dirty nails claw iron sides
convulsions
shitting
screams
fighting each other for air
a lousy peso a job a hamburger
some goddamn fucking hope
the 19th survived by desperately
punching a hole in the
floor to breathe —
he keeps big grey boxer shorts
under his widow girlfriends’
bathroom sink
along with his favorite treat
oreo ice-cream sandwich cookies
raw w/freezer burn
in the gigantic new fridge
her son and me made it
kneeling cum spots on her
silk brocade couch
among Illinois farmwives
knick-knacks preserved
without dust on the shelves
homecrafted dolls and crystal
handed down if I had a bomb
I would blow up R.B.
all this kink
is getting me nowhere.

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