Mar 21
scarlettpoet's picture

Death in a Foreigner's Tongue

I. Él sana a los que tienen el corazón roto y venda sus heridas  
(Psalm 147: 3)  


Their locutions flit over my head, like a murder of crows 
fleeing a foggy sunrise in the east. Mother told me to smile 

and nod, to force puddles of sunlight into my gingerbread eyes. Monochrome people
hover on tiled floors, fingers fumbling against sterling silver wrists. I study the way

their fingernails catch on dull moissanite rings, handed to them by the papaya brushed
remnants of their ancestors. I wonder if they were baptized in the murky water

of chipped bathtubs. Father raised me to be a good Roman Catholic, to hold hands with 
the boy that smelled like gasoline during Communion, to hold back  

bile as I kissed him during the wedding. Fragmented light dips into concave chests, 
nestling against floral perfume. I peer at the wilted flowers sighing against stiff walls-

asters, bluebells, and carnations-
in a deadened glory that clings to life like ticks burrowed in a mangy dog. 

II. Mi carne y mi corazón pueden desfallecer, pero Dios es la fuerza de mi corazón y mi porción para siempre. 
(Psalm 73:26) 


 Mascara smudges transform into abstract paintings on tear-stained cheeks, birthing
a child to waltz across anguish-stricken skin. She leaps from

freckle to freckle, wobbling on tippy-toes painted with matte aegean polish. I
swipe my thumb across her face, watching her dissipate beneath my

 fingertip. Caskets of walnut wood 
conjugate in a silent vigil. Within my mind’s eye, I can clearly

picture the dead conversing with each other in hushed whispers.  “Did
you believe their lies too?,” the elders would ask. Undecayed

jaws sighed, “Yes, they told the same stories.” Phantom
hands caressed my jaw, gliding beneath and tilting

it upwards and towards firmaments of an unforgiving and
disquieting god. Oh, how I covet to join Him.  

III. Jesús le dijo: “Yo soy la resurrección y la vida." 
(John 11:25-26) 


Hearts of sanguine blood strain against suffocating ribs; pomegranate veins 
strain against sweaty palms as they shove roses against brass handles. The
 
clicking of heels decrescendos and crescendos as they deposit 
their flowers and scurry back.  One steps, two steps, three steps,

I am pulled forward by the roots of my hair. I stand before him and
his stale air. Should I feel remorse? Should I pray for his day of  heavenly 

resurrection? Reluctant hymns drip from chapped 
lips, the same lips that so greedily drank prayers from their mother’s teat.

I am an intruder within 
these people, an imposter coated in vermillion lipstick. I kiss the top of his 

forehead, dusting brunette hair away from his pasty, rubbery skin. He
still smells like gasoline.

(previously published in the Ice Lolly Review)
 
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