Green Hills Literary Lantern

Accordion Accord

 

 

You and I, my lovely long-winded one,

are like sides of a squeeze-box,

going always apart to greet what we move between—

the musician’s hearty arms,

revelers slapping time on their knees,

and barefoot dancers on the sea-cove beach.

 

Each time, full of starlit impressions

we come back to meet

and sing of what has been seen,

then again turn away to take in the breeze

and push vibrant air into music

through ourselves to where the other is.

 

 

It’s the Day of the Dead in Juarez and Texas

 

and many a borders is crossed

in this Catholic Mass for a cult of the dead

from before all was altered by Golgotha.

 

The living pray for the missing

and the dead say the same prayers

in silence beside them.

 

The poor offer the gold of flaming veladores

and marigolds so the church becomes musty

with pungent commingling odors.

 

Those whose visabuelos lived in Texas

back when Texas was Mexico cross boundaries

to Juarez to pray with their cousins,

 

ninietos of those who stayed.

This day they all make tamales

to take to the graves.

 

With fervent recollections of dulce

the dead lick sugar skulls and flicker

the wicks of burning vigil lights.

 

They move unseen amid the chaos

and console their loved ones,

pray their potent cross-veiled blessings

 

for the pobres near the border

making their way north. They know the ones

who will join them in the days to come.

 

Those who have waited behind come to spend this day

as close as they may get to the fence

to be nearer the ones who have crossed.

 

The church with its decorated graveyard

was built in full view of the wall between worlds.

Gustavito sells Chiclets to the boys in El Paso,

 

passes them small colored boxes of gum

through a hole in the fence

and waits for American coins to slip back through.

 

 

 

Maureen Tolman Flannery’s  latest books are Ancestors in the Landscape: Poems of a Rancher’s Daughter and A Fine Line. Although she grew up in a Wyoming sheep ranch family, Maureen and her actor husband Dan have raised their four children in Chicago Her work has appeared in fifty anthologies and over a hundred literary reviews, recently including Birmingham Poetry Review, Xavier Review, Calyx, Pedestal, Atlanta Review, Out of Line, and North American Review.