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Maria

On Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles

Maria struts on high heels, sporting

tight jeans, Frisco T-shirts, oversize

sunglasses, purple nail-polish, tilts her

red Maxfactor lips to the sky, her face

spilling with dreams

She sings along a Mexican song

from a passing car seizing the light

of life “Voy para norte!”

“Para alcanzar me sueno”

Memories shift as vivid as fire

her journey from the blue hills

of the Sierra Madre, Guetamala

to the stretch of potholes along

La Carretera al Pacifico to the border

of Mexico past yawning ravines

of El Espinoza del Diablo all the way

to Los Angeles

Down there …

locked inside a trunk of an old Ford,

hot and airless, she curls like a cat

on a piece of cardboard, endures

the raw heat of summer, count sparks

of light drifting in and out, gasping for

breath holding fast to a single beam

as dreams are flung, killed, in cold and

and starless nights

Out of the trunk on the hill of Matamoros, Tijuana

she heads north, darts in and out of alleys

crossing highways skipping gutters, bridges,

stations of border patrols. outrunning dogs barking

in rage into a house with shut windows

Inside closed doors, quick eyes stare

at her in silence, faces brown as

cinnamon bark, fresh as Amazon mangoes,

bound by one language, one dream, one plan

one destination, a journey of no return.

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