Mythology Of Your Nights

You turn on the porch light

in that moment between twilight and dark:

little catch of breath, and your dead grandmother

kidnaps you, 40 freckles on her inner thigh

spilling out like stars snapping open.


Not what you asked for, this haze

of chimera, strange tock-tock of piñon

at her hearth. No, you want to see just-night,


want to hear Esquibel’s junk-dog complain

about poor food, no food, his cursed

coyote life chained to a light pole.


But you taste your grandmother’s coffee:

bitter grounds mixing with day-old cream,

3 sugar cubes she positions side by side


at the bottom of the cup with crack

of lizard’s tail: When you roll one finger

around its rough rim, poco a poco sweetness


dissolves into heat, and 12 bizcochitos float

from that ancient oven, scent-of-anise falling

from dusky heavens of abuelita’s dough.


Warning: Turn off the porch light o leave

it on. It makes no matter. You sit at the chartreuse

table, sampling constellations and crumbs, scatter

warm clouds onto her kitchen floor, momentito,

she says, then some moon remembers your ransom.


(Tiger’s Eye Poetry Journal and as a Tiger’s Eye broadside, 2004)