Rigoberto González


Gallup, New Mexico

The heavy snow disrobes the landscape of its mountains. You stretch a hand
out the window to capture its cool pleasure but it eludes your grasp

because it wasn't meant for you. Nobody knows you exist in the white
month of February and in the hungriest of hours—so ravenous they eat sound.

If there was a road it has coiled like a sleeping snake beneath the shrinking
metal of your car. You are just as numb in the back seat, no longer a driver.

You remember that stranded couple who survived one week on
saltine crackers and body heat. Yours is a tube of toothpaste in your bag

and a man in town who thanks you for opening your left nipple like a rose
at the prompting of his lips. When he turns his back to you in bed his skin

shades to gray and you know about the dead who roll their eyes up to memorize
the texture of their graves. If you should freeze the mute explosion

of your heart will not betray you. The science of the weather will have
its own sad story to tell when you are found, ten-fingered fetus with a full

set of teeth locked to the knucklebone. The trapped air will surrender when
the door splits open and a woman in a passing truck will romanticize your death.

Did you escape or were you abandoned? Either way you take no possessions
with you, unless you open your mouth and name your tongue a possession.

A slippery wedge of a muscle, it shifts like solid stone in the arctic of your jaw.
The word that swam to your throat, that word, love, grows thick with ice like

everything that keeps you company tonight: your lung at sub-zero, your empty
heart—the pieces of your body that cannot thaw but shatter at the touch of heat.


© 2002 Electronic Poetry Review