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Medio Mudo

Parched and bare, I shed credence—
drag my molt               lace mestizo itch
against embosom, a cotton fetter. You tell me,
Do not sing, voice is a lantern.
You know                   (to): wrap my wrist with wire
sew my lips.    Hum: You don’t know
how easy you got it, Cipote. In July, I stack
empty cans into divots                 on Burbank Boulevard,
listen to Abuela croon & read indigo—
creased in palm, soles charred by asphalt. Ebon water
stains               (our) enamel tub. You pinch me
red from pink, call me half-breed. You say: tell them
you’re white.    Hand me my lullaby: an empty room
where I watch crows dance in the asbestos. You ask:
do you see the Maquilíshuat?
I tell you: no                        & you shove
towels into the crack beneath
           a narrow door to smother
                       sage as it saturates
my lungs. You say: it will cleanse,
till I peer through the keyhole                       see your chapel
glass stained grey to steal my tongue. Hand me a trumpet—
                        say: here is your voice, prying
                                     my throat wide for its lacquered bell.

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