postcard from la finca

I’m writing from la finca

where Frederico offers us

another shot of Johnny Walker red

manana, he says, you never know,

you may be sick or dead

you see those vultures

watching from the trees

they’re waiting


the soup is almost ready

the chicharron is crisp

the horses saddled for our pleasure

their stirrups shaped like leather shoes

lazy cattle amble on the plain

prodded by gauchos in stiff white hats


near the crisscrossed stacks of wood

the rancheros set off fireworks

los diez hermanos de Juigalpa

lined up by the whitewashed wall

play chicheros

the tuba-player’s cheeks bright red

the brass trumpets blaring

like the angels’ herald


Frederico’s daughter

wears behind her ear

a white orchard

plucked from the riverbank

she gathers the ends

of her bright purple dress

and waving them back and forth

like a toreador taunting the bull

egged on by the cries of the crowd

she begins to dance


(originally published in Literary Orphans)


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