byEdgar Gabriel Silex
remember the day
I was in second grade and you were in fourth
and the world's misery was still covered
in iridescence before I got pneumonia
and heard the sweet drowning voice of death

that was the day you said   let's play hooky
I said - Okay! thinking of horse games we played
on our way to school     we ate our lunch
for breakfast   spent our 50 cents of milk money
at señora Torre's candy store
she was making big   fat   delicious candy apples
like shiny red crystal balls we could have looked into
and seen our reddish future

we sat on the levee
beneath a sunlight we had never imagined before
eating our Payday bars     our Bar B-Q Lays potato chips
drinking our Pepsi's last as we watched
our bronze people lift their dreams up
to keep the river from drowning them
carrying them with all their skills on their backs

we never got to eat our candy apples
because the Border Patrol came   thought we were Mexicans
when the truant officer took us home grandma covered us
with red welts from grandpa's belt
before we were put in separate rooms to cry
like we would always cry     by ourselves

that was the best day of our schooling
we learned school was meant to keep us
from seeing that sunlight created this world
school would shape our eyes
into prisms that could split the brilliance
so that everything we saw we would see through
pigments and shadows and the memory of light
would be lost from our eyes     that day
when we touched the ache of this world
we learned the secret of why some people fulfill
their own wishes to die

For Bert

From Through All the Displacements by Edgar Gabriel Silex,
Curbstone Press. © 1995 Edgar Gabriel Silex

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