Jon Fonseca, Thoughts and Shadows under a Crescent Moon
Padre Nuestro (Our Father)
Mi madre (My mom) said, “Ponte a rezar.” (Go pray)
She’s taught me just about every prayer.
She said, “Antes de que te vayas a dormir, (Before you go to sleep,)
Ponte a rezar.” (Pray)
And I do. Every night before bed
She doesn’t tell me to pray anymore,
and I don’t really think she can.
She’s spent the last weeks in the living room,on her knees with a rosary in hand,
crying and begging god for help.
I leave her be, looking out the window,
waiting for my dad to pull up in his camioneta de trabajar. (work truck)
Mi tía (My aunt) says he’s not coming home,
I heard her talking about immigración
(the ICE trucks that park at the corner of my neighborhood and outside convenience stores)
and words my mom would ground me for saying.
My tía does not tell me to pray, she says
“Cuidate mijo, (be careful son)
If you come home and no one’s here, call me.”
whoever arrested my dad will come to get us next.
We lock the doors every night, and right before bed
I think about my dad;
Y me pongo a rezar. (I begin to pray.)
earth to earth
Little pebbles nuzzle in between the ridges
of my sole, hitching a ride down the side of the train tracks. Jagged-edged stones prick a slight cushiony plastic. Scuffs, scars, colors: will wash away years later; when I scrub gum soles with dish soap and lukewarm tap water; softly, as to revere but scrub legacies of productive day cycles. Sometimes I don’t bother. I might let the sneakers sit in the back of my closet and think of them as too rugged for the impressionable eye of friends I’ve yet to make.
The tracks. I wonder when they needed the steel and wood so bad to then travel cartfulls down a rail. I wonder when people became the supply of coal that tracks once travelled from one city to another. I am not needed today. I can freely walk along my thoughts, along the tracks, and think about the work I’ve fulfilled. A coal stone wandering off a cart, mixed with the pebbles laid in the railyard.
Coal. Millions of years ago a plant vanquished a treacherous environment to survive against evolutionary perils. Today, it burns to power a city. Did it survive/live ‘till now then? What awaits me when I burn up into smithereens? Afterlife of work? Everytime you say my name I will be down the tracks riding to another coal plant.
You could walk alongside me for now. Scratching up your soles, discoloring your whites. Fighting
like hell to not step on the tracks and lay to rest.
I forgot the lyrics to my favorite song
On a late morning having slept in
through alarms from 7 to 8 to 9
to laying awake in bed heavy with
regret? sadness? exhaustion!—
was that it?
The window was open luring
the cold into my room my body
too tired to conceal itself under
a thick redblack flannel-print cover
Any other day I would find
my legs melt into the underside
soft fabric of the cover smiling
at the ease of comfort a blanket
can give me so quickly so soon
I forgot the lyrics to my favorite song
Today my head is light like an
untied balloon flying spitting air
out into a crowded room the
furniture are pillars of unspoken
debt to a charitable world
and when I get the means
I swear to God I will repay
but for now I need the most
help I can get and it doesn’t
get easier to need it gets
harder to speak it gets
dire to write it gets tiring
to me it gets tiring to me
Today I forgot the lyrics to my favorite song
so I wrote my own.
Midwestern Life Lessons
sniffles, coughing, fever
the cost of a good coat.
to be warm on a cool day,
stay dry on a rainy one
my mom would say,
“bundle up, or
you’ll catch a cold”
I would bundle up
I’d get a cold
she’d respond with,
“you didn’t bundle up
now in a millisecond
I learned what we’ve studied
over a millenia
about immune systems
bacteria, antibodies, white
blood cells, red blood cells
sleep strengthens the immune system
stress, worry, anxiety will weaken it
It’s not about having a good coat
as much as it is about affording one