This is an excerpt from
by Emmy Pérez.
The men notice the slight swelling
of her chest. The street breathes:
a mirage of gasoline
flooding ghosts of orange groves.
To be a man is to detect
bodies as they soften.
She checks her reflection
in the chrome of his car. Holds still
while strangers scout a path
halfway to her sky. It is good
to have much cake on your behind.
They want to drop silverware; bring food to lips.
Mouths and hands join together; she ought to
say a prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Light candles for her bowed head.
Use cushions for knees. Kneel. Stained
glass keeps the sun out. A hymn flutters
through exhaust pipes. Outside, wildflowers
bloom through cracks of stone. Worms appear
in puddles of last night’s rain.
... She smiles for mother as bolillos bake into boats.
They will slit them, fill them with meat.
Plums ferment near the ocotillo fence.
Under skins, flesh hums—capillary, sweet.