Paul David Adkins

La Llorona Laughs at All the Times She Escaped Dying

Death is no more interested in me than a man
slopping his one-night-stand
in afterglow.

He's disgusted
that she let him.

He nuzzles her for nothing
more than animal warmth,

her tits a couple of greenbacks
snagged in the barb
of his palms.

His small heart
clouds the bare room
with gray fumes.

This is why pistol slugs
fired point blank
by quavering vaqueros

barely ripple my ectoplasm
before they bury their heads
in the knolls
of the nearest saguaros.

A village tried hanging me once.

I wasn't thinking — absentminded,
turned to flesh.

They dragged me,
up the crude scaffold
of the gallows tower.

I slipped seven times
through the noose,
my limp neck slick
and glistening as the sides
of a flopping fish.

With that I passed
serene as Christ through my accusers.

More times than I can count,
cars whisking Highway 2
have parted the dust
devil of me
before I collected myself
in their rearviews.

Stallions bucked and stamped the wind
from my torso so often,
the empty lung sacks
filled with their horseshoes.

I stepped especially heavy
through midnight Santa Fe.

Niños pissed themselves
mistaking the shift of my iron dunnage
for black and trailing chains.

La Llorona Scoops an Interview with Bernadette Flores, October 2nd, 2002

And where are your children?

  Off to the stream where the river grass grows.

Where are your children, my dear?

  Lodged in the rocks by the fall.

And why have you driven yourself to this place?

  To bathe in the moonlight and dance in the sand.

Why did you drive to this place, precious one?

  Because no one could find us in time.

How long did it take you to get here?

  An hour by highway, an hour by dirt.

How long did it take you to get here, mi reina?

  A lifetime with a man on my heels.

What place did you come from?

  A rez' with no morning, a land without sun.

What place did you come from, my darling?

  The Lucky Shoe Saloon, kids asleep on the seat of the K-Car.

Who told you to do this?

  You did, of course. Ancianos will swear.

And who told you to do this, mi alma?

  There was no one.

How will you find your babies?

  They will come when I call.

And how will you find your babies, my love?

  Follow that ambulance, I guess.

And where are your children?

  No sé.

Where are your children, my dear.

Minipres ® (Prazosin)

She dreamt her womb
was full of teeth and bones.
She couldn't sleep for weeks.

The doctor ordered Minipres
to stunt her nightmares, dreams.

One night she forgot the pill,
woke early, turned to me
like a good fairy.

She waved her hand,

In nightstand cup
the tablet danced
like an angel
in a tiny well of snow.

Paul David Adkins

PAUL DAVID ADKINS lives in New York. He served in the US Army for 21 years, three months, and 18 days. His debut poetry collection, La Doña, La Llorona, will appear through Lit Riot Press in 2016.

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