Home / Issue 34 / SNAPSHOTS OF LA LLORONA

SNAPSHOTS OF LA LLORONA

By Juan Morales

*

Downriver, two young girls sweep dirt

outside the house. They erase finger drawn curses,

mixed in with nature’s work. Inside, their mama weeps

with her bible open, under her bed.

She keeps the broom across the doorway,

to keep out the uninvited.

 

*

La Llorona, your whispers send everyone running.

My friends who have met your glisten of teeth and claws

now avoid shadowy city banks—

El Paso, La Junta, Tucson, Pueblo, San Antonio

Aztec, Albuquerque—you never stop beckoning them.

 

*

I always mistake you for the gnarled trees,

climbing soaked onto the banks

of the Arkansas.

You should be the grass folding like your tears

on the river trail

where lampposts can’t light enough.

 

*

La Llorona, are you watching?

Are you drawing

the unblinking malo ojos in the dirt,

coaxing children

to reunite with your mouth

full of river, like two little girls and

their mother, down the

river from here?

 

*

The mama feels the chill stowed in her bones

as something waterlogged and rising

inside her. She guides her confused girls

to the riverside, wondering who else feels the depths of grief

pulling them to embrace

the river’s flow and the urging taking it all in.