Listen to Her Face

Listen to her face, I whisper to my sister 
we’ve come to fill the urn with geranium water
Listen to the sound of her chin, the slant of her eyelids
to prune back starchy branches and blood petals
Listen to the fine hair of her eyebrows
we drive my mother through a maze of tombstones
Listen to the pale lid over blue iris
looking for her parents, Glenn and Charlie
Listen to her calm yellow skin, the open throat
our eyes team with clouds of crosses
Listen to the curl of hair, lace beneath her chin
voices echo inside us like children calling through tunnels
Listen to her blue veins, flowers opening on desert
as if the dark ricochet of their voices can rescue us
Listen to the bruise below her left knuckle
how often we have broken the wishbone in two
Listen to her fingers warming my right hand
salvaged like a piece of scrap metal put to good use
Listen to the tender pulse of her neck
swearing in a language she’s never used before
Listen to her voice as it rises from my past
reminding me, Bring in the sheets if it rains.

(First published in El Río de las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio)