C.M. Mayo

 

BANK

We decided to ask a lot of questions
Davy & me

Of old ladies lined up at the teller's window
Holding their purses primly

Waiting their turn
With good nature painted on their faces

Does your husband know you're here?
If we pointed a bazooka at you

How much money could you take out of your account
Right now?

They shuffled ahead
Their answers tiny as raspberry pips

 

NAFTA

We decided to go Mexican
Davy & me

We ate six kilos of beans
And two cans of Rosarito hotsauce

But our skin stayed white
And our accents flat as flapjacks

Still
Davy seemed to think this might work

 

THE EGG

The egg was very large
so I rolled it about
the carpet
down the stairs
......................thlook
...........thlook

and out the door
and into the street
and along the gutter
like a great big bowling ball
Mrs. Martinez came out with her gardening shears
Where did you get that egg? she said
snip
I scooped it up
and tucked it under my shirt
and I ran
with it hard and cold against my ribs


Richard Dana
Lotus and Hand:
Mural for 24th Annual Cultural Festival
(Asilah, Morocco);
Latex on wall; 78x96"; 2002
see more work by Richard Dana

 

 

..................IN THE NEW TERRITORIES

...........We pulled the Toyota to the shoulder
.......................tramped down the grass
...........................to snap a photo of
............the silver harbor water, pearl horizon
.....and bristling along the edge of it a steel forest
........with windows like a thousand locust eyes
..................And a bird the size of my fist
.........grazed your cheek, cartwheeled down--

.....If we could hear the wind singing in the pines
................It would sound like temple bells
......................................iron
......................................slow

 

THE SEA IS CORTÉS

.....Among all these people, it was held for
.....very certain that we came from the sky.
.......--Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca

An image, gorgeous as a movie still: of the explorer
ruddy-cheeked and black-bearded
Above a sweep of ether-pure sky
A wisp of cloud floats over the horizon like a feather
The air is gentle and warm
The rigging soughs and the deckboards creak
sun-warped and dry
smelling of pitch and salt
The sails billow gently as the prow glides
over glass-smooth sea
the way yearning cuts through a life
It is so big this sea
So blue such a bright bright blue
Shield your eyes

 

 

C.M. Mayo is the author of Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico (University of Utah Press, 2002), and Sky Over El Nido (University of Georgia Press, 1995) which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. Mayo's many other awards include fellowships to Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Wesleyan Writers Conferences, and most recently, a residency at the Ragdale Foundation and two Lowell Thomas Awards for travel writing. Mayo's poetry has been widely published in literary journals, among them Exquisite Corpse, Lyric, Natural Bridge, Permafrost, Rio Grande Review, West Branch, and Witness, and in the anthologies American Poets Say Goodbye to the 20th Century (eds. L. Rosenthal and Andrei Codrescu), Body Language: A Head to Toe Anthology (ed. John B. Lee), and the forthcoming Red, White & Blues (eds. Ryan Van Cleave and Virgil Suarez). A translator of Mexican poetry and fiction, Mayo is the founding editor of Tameme, a bilingual (English/Spanish) literary journal. Mayo's website is http://www.cmmayo.com.

Published in Volume 5, Number 4, Fall 2004.