Home / Issue 33 / Notes From My Hood in the Time of COVID-19

Notes From My Hood in the Time of COVID-19

By Cesar L. DeLeon

1.

We are told that Constantine witnessed a cross in the sky over the Tiber on the eve of battle, and then Christendom was born. Or was it just a cloud and now children are evil until their sins have been rinsed down the drain and out into the ocean? Today through my window the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna Madre send me clouds shaped like babies in the afternoon breeze. Some will mature into war-scarred locusts, some into lavender thunder.

2.

I keep returning

To the trestle and bullet

Holes and words

Bruising iron and concrete

Where condom-flashing preachers

Pray into the fog

—let me do unto you

And it never is

About you or them

But the silence

Beading on the tips of grass blades

When they leave

3.

Standing at my chain-link I hear Los Tigres blasting around the corner of L Street and Jackson where Chucha and her wild granddaughters lived 20 years ago in the “nice house” with cement floors that everyone envied. I don’t know who lives there now —some guy— his electric blue tricked-out truck gleaming under the late march sky like a Sunday miracle but today is Tuesday or maybe it’s Thursday and it really doesn’t matter because the accordion is cutting clean methodic lines across the empty street and through the leafless soapberry trees that have decided to boycott spring.

4.

The grackles know

Summer

Will arrive slanted

On the shoulders of fire

Flies and then sugar

Ash before green

And knowing they call

The setting sun father

The evening star traitor

The moon’s rim survivor

Dawn’s lip hunger

And those of us left

To witness daybreak

Sunflowers.

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