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EN ABONOS (circa 1951)

By Jesús Mena

I ‘member
The muffled oars
Slicing through murky water
The moon
Masking itself
A cover of darkness
Amá and me y mí hermano
Crickets chirping in the carrizo
On the edge of the Río Bravo


I ‘member
The soggy banks
Mi hermano
Yanked off his shoes
Fearing they’d get muddied
They slipped

                off his fingers
Sank

                into the bog


Un zapato mejicano,
One shoe americano.


I ‘member
My brother descalso
Bare feet slapping pavement
Amá buying him shoes at Cavazos’
En abonos


Y tus zapatos?
The clerk asked
Los perdí
Cuando cruzamos el río


Amá, con cara roja,
Shhhht, niño!
Un dolar
En abonos.