Rodney Gomez


                         For Emmy Perez


We cannot tattoo
roses on the border

wall. We cannot strip
the river and expect it

to squawk. We cannot build
a pinwheel of butterflies

to overrun the dry
banks, launch a trebuchet

of squirming children
into Relampago hoping

they will find the way back. 
Strip the mud to reveal

axolotl skin. Strip
the skin to reveal the truth

about walls. Homily
to feet made horned 

by the scantest coat
of dust. Pin a summer

dress on the slats,
invite it to the waltz.

We cannot aerosol
Tonantzin on the border

wall. We cannot plow
the boneyard and ship

it back. Forget architect
names and engineer

plans. Red tooth,
clawless. Pillion

to a thousand mile
rosary. In the summer,

under a scrimshaw sun,
we cannot fathom

the shadow on a boy's
brown face. He twists

and squirms but ends
up trapped in the space

between tines.
We cannot sand off names

tagged on the bridge
near Gem Estates,

where they filigree
their teeth and proudly

repeat their chimes.
Humps of charred

wetbacks, cairn upon
cairn of their hands

shaped into pistols,
hands into fists, hands

into pestles. Pesos
strewn like bird seed

to summon the grackles.
You cannot dismantle

the border wall. Take it
apart, a dodecahedron

in the hands of a boy
who prefers a mallet.

Reassembled, a lung.
A girl drapes a skirt

over the spine: she says,
someday this will be known

as a whip.

Rodney Gomez

<em>Edit Libroafricante</em> Rodney Gomez

Rodney Gomez works as an urban planner in Weslaco, Texas. His chapbook Mouth Filled With Night is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Blackbird, Devil’s Lake, Salt Hill, Barrow Street, RHINO, and other journals. He has received residencies from the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Santa Fe Art Institute. He holds an MFA from UT-Pan American and was a board member of Migrant Health Promotion, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of migrants, immigrants, and related populations.