Plautdietsch banking billboards rear up
against the mountain desert backdrop of northern Mexico.
Ice-white Mennonite blondes serve pizza–rich cheese,
ranch palaces dominate a land of bare branch apple trees
where Tarahumaras beg at traffic lights, cloaked in
primary colours on gravel
Ancke, was semi-forbidden to talk to men
except to take orders, her Spanish rough and accented
rounded and sliced in ways different to mine,
her words an efficiency, a stubbornness of five colony generations
this island on a highway leaving Cuauhtémoc
and enveloped in faraway lyrics – Europe, America
in the like-me, not from here – home.
It’s been several years since you died,
since you scratched an entrance with your voice.
I wonder how you were sculpted?
How your smile lines grew like roots around your eyes,
your mouth – your generous hugs learned from years of
……………..‘love is better’
Between you and me – and God,
an empty gut from dawn ‘til dusk
is a brick sinking to the ocean floor.
The smells of tortillas, goat meat frying
on the street corner are stinging petals
on the tendrils of jellyfish… I pray
beyond my immediate space, I try to be reflective,
those less fortunate are murky in my mind and light
barely breaks the water’s surface… the ripples of my fast
less a transformative process, more a guilty silence in place
…………..of a loud and greedy swallow.
Jack Little (b. 1987) is a British-Mexican poet, editor and translator based in Mexico City and Palma de Mallorca. He is the author of Elsewhere (Eyewear, 2015) and is the founding editor of The Ofi Press. He was the poet in residence at The Heinrich Böll Cottage on Achill Island in the west of Ireland in July 2016.