Today's poem is by Javier Zamora

El Salvador

Salvador, if I return on a summer day, so humid my thumb
      will clean your beard of salt, and if I touch your volcanic face,

kiss your pumice breath, please don't let cops say: he's gangster.
      Don't let gangsters say: he's wrong barrio. Your barrios

stain you with pollen. Every day cops and gangsters pick at you
      with their metallic beaks, and presidents, guilty.

Dad swears he'll never return, Mom wants to see her mom,
      and in the news: black bags, more and more of us leave.

Parents say: don't go; you have tattoos. It's the law; you don't know
      what law means there.
¿But what do they know? We don't

have greencards. Grandparents say: nothing happens here.
      Cousin says: here, it's worse. Don't come, you could be ...

Stupid Salvador, you see our black bags, our empty homes,
      our fear to say: the war has never stopped, and still you lie

and say: I'm fine, I'm fine, but if I don't brush Abuelita's hair,
      wash her pots and pans, I cry. Tonight, how I wish

you made it easier to love you, Salvador. Make it easier
to never have to risk our lives.

Copyright © 2018 Javier Zamora All rights reserved
from Unaccompanied
Copper Canyon Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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