Tema Stauffer, Back Door, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2005

The skin is open
& it hurts even more to sew
it back together
& when the snakes
return to Macondo all of them
say You’ll be fine
which I almost
believe because if animals
are talking then
who knows
what else is happening
who knows
if those two
gangs down past Division St
met for coffee
to decide whether
or not Eastside & Westside
were equal
who knows
how many volcanoes woke
up today
& did not
erupt    how many storms
parked their cars
over the world
& said I’m too tired
who knows
about the children
born with the tails of pigs
or with horns
that break
the skin when you pet
their heads
I’ve spent all
summer digging toward
the metal heart
of mangos
with my teeth & growing
snakes in my yard
& consulting
the Oracle on which color
to paint my house
I’ve taken
birds from wooden barstools
& set them free
in my apartment
I’ve left my door unlocked
but closed
because who
is going to try me
who’s ready
to barge
in & steal my frozen
& take my
pictures from their frames
& nap on my couch
& cut me
open for the surgery
of a lifetime
where my skin
is polished into glass
& where
I’m knocked
off the counter  & shatter
before I hit
the wooden floor


Daniel Eduardo Ruiz