The Ballad of Mamá Pochita
After Batsheva Dori-Carlier
A decomposing house at the edge of memory, falling
into an abyss. Nothing is like it used to be. Her face is
a double mask from the afterworld. Del más allá y de aquí.
Her broken back, a cracked ruin. She is also at the end
of a long wide corridor, her past flash through her mind
as she holds a little boy, a rose-scented rosary in her hand.
The dining table laid again at dusk. A place for each
of our dead: two plates, one fork, a half-eaten peach.
The moment she says Forget your beginnings, what’s beneath.
Her mother’s mother, a curse too. Her clothes drowned
in the middle of a dusty patio. They got rid of all gowns
that smelt of her. A pyre grew, children played around.
Circles formed, wind picked up speed. Clouds balancing
on a washing line, her body giving away. She wasn’t
asking to be a saint. Her cuticles under the tap, vanishing.
A house in a now forgotten tree-lined street, a muffled cry
from an old lady foretelling her future se viene la tormenta
te voy a buscar un rinconcito en el cielo a tiny little place in the sky.