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Two Poems by Sandy Benitez

2009 October 22
by Sandy Benitez

805996_forestDay of the Dead

In Mexico City, the heat rises

like the dead.  Unseen but felt

in quiet corners.  Tourists crowd

the streets, snapping photos of

dancing senoritas and faceless

vendors moaning behind masks of

boredom.  Stray dogs trail behind,

snarling over the largest scrap of bone,

marrow still intact.  In an alleyway,

behind an iron gate, a tired maid

cradles a dead fetus.  A scarlet river

drains into the gutter on the street.

Bloody footprints walk away from

the scene of the crime.  Skeletal

bodies reach out to foreigners,

begging for coins, water, a piece of

salvation.  Mad roosters pick at their

toes mistaking them for ears of corn.

While hens lay deformed eggs.

Shells cracking, spilling spicy red

yolk hot as lava.  This is not the day

of the dead as seen in postcards

for sale in hotel gift shops or flyers

nailed to wooden cantina doors.

But it may as well be.


Grandma always wore knee-high

black socks to bed.  She claimed

they kept her legs warm; short,

brittle bones resembling fragile

timbers that could crack

at the slightest awkward tilt.

Every morning, I helped her discard

the sweaty socks.  Slowly peel them

off like snake skin.  In the process,

grains of sand seeped from her toes,

sprinkling salt from their flesh covered

shaker.  I thought it odd but blamed it

on her feet which were always traveling

with no direction.  In the afternoons,

I would spot her rummaging through

linen closets and dresser drawers.  I

reasoned it was due to her dementia.

Meanwhile, an hourglass sitting on her

nightstand tap danced to the music

of confusion.  Knowing that it was only

a matter of time before the sand

would stop spilling.  And the agony

of vertigo would finally end.

One Response leave one →
  1. October 23, 2009

    Really enjoyed the Day of the Dead piece. Opening and ending lines are strong, plenty of great imagery in between.

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