Ysidro calls me at night, meeya carra. his bigblonde bean, and slides his moustache across myneck. he's dark, and like I imagine his country,flat and arid, face a painted clay pot dryingon the windowsill, on his lip, trails a snakewith black twisted rattles. he asks me aboutmy youth, and I tell him like the others, thatthey said I would never amount to anything. because of my size mostly, that I was a big Americangirl. raw and wide I sent away from catalogues,for plastic barrettes shaped like musical notes, andCuban heeled shoes. I was dreamy too, and oncepainted my naked body like a guitar, with metalfrets and silver strings. he caught lizards andtamed them, and saw an orange blister ripped sun.its aurora looked liked yellow music, and his eyesnarrow as he plucks it from my stomach.
I had Matthew from the first marriage, when Iwas sixteen. we would huddle in a striped mattressthat was split in the seams, and I thought ofmy husband as a cowboy, when his leather facecreased and stretched. in college I later learnedabout kings, and ancient gods who sent their lovein showers of coins, golden, manna from heaven.and I never talk about my first man, except tosay that he laid my head open and the scar-lineis his illegible signature. my son is more likean immaculate conception, like my adopted girlswhose teeth and pupils are shaped like a stranger.we ride to the lake and crush bread for the birds.I like the geese with their masks and giraffenecks. sometimes they hiss and you'd swear theyhad a row of devil fangs under their poniard tongues.but especially the swans, I can't help but thinkof them plucked and fleshy turning white and velvet,like my husband pulling his hands through my hennahair.
Ysidro is a groundskeeper and gravedigger. sometimeswe joke about dead business or a certain shift, andwe laughed about the recipe I have included;Mexican Chicken Bake, we said: cremate a handfulof skinny bones, and sprinkle lightly over thedinner table. but it's peaceful work, and he restsby the tombs, and weeds the paupers' wooden crosses.and tells them about the weather, and here inOskaloosa it couldn't be finer. I am alone mostnights when he walks with sleeping Iowa, and myimagination can turn black. I think of sewinghim a pole-bag, with cobra skin and vegetablepowder. with fathers and half shells. so hecan speak melodic incantations and command a blood-less multitude. scary corpses turn to me, theireye sockets contracting in the light.we feed the birds and cook a chicken. in a tacoshell it's perfect, spicy and delicious, like mysweet Spanish lover's touch.