Through the factory glass I watch
the second shift arrive. Mothers and daughters
cross a muddy stream, arm in arm, confiding
like schoolgirls. Behind the building
the smell of hot cement and menthol 100s.
From the chaparral comes the sizzle of cigar stubs
with capsule eyes: cicadas thrumming for rain
or conjugation until they're brown shreds.
On cue everyone drops their smokes
and pushes through the steel door painted blue,
a color my uncle says will trick the devil
into thinking it's the door to heaven.
A worker begins her weary blandishments
at the foot of the rapier loom, a lubricious
machine with a mind to grab her. Once
I saw a praying mantis catch a hummingbird.
Once I saw Ivanna leave work and she never
made it home. They blew up her face to poster size.
Underneath, where her name should have been –
Se Busca. There's a pink cross with her head-shot
nailed to it, one in a vast thicket of crosses.
They look like roses unable to bloom.
From my front door it looks like brass insects
my neighbor's child is plucking out of the dirt.
Estrellita skips across the yard jingling
her plastic bag of spent shells from a 45.
Constellations fizzle in the orange spray
of daybreak. Sunrise over Juarez: a reminder
that every little star is in fact a raging hell.
The American Journal of Poetry, Volume 4, 2018