"Always  Messing with them Boys"
Jessica Helen Lopez  


How I Pray in a Little Known Chapel
in Granada, Nicaragua

JThis. This ringing. The quiet
eye of my god. This gyroscope
the wheel the baton the scourge.

This whistle. This confusing
shriek. The muscle hard
a pulled saltwater taffy
skin of papaya. This skin

porous pumice map of splinters
Spindles and fingers this is this

clouds whipped to frenzy. This
electric mouth that spins the
blue-bottled blues the dizzying
cornea stems and rods.

these podium breasts
fire-engine lung
far-flung net of ignorance
across international borders

This. This secret. The quiet
descent and fascination
obtuse self-immolation

this adultery
this line
these brutish desires

This sucker punch rotgut need
clandestine addiction
fanciful predilections

This. This ringing. This
unspeaking gaping mouth of my god.



Or Flight

Remove your shoes and leave them by the door to his home. You will not be allowed to stay long. Tread paper thin as ghost. Watch as muscles stretch into smile. Remember not to take this act as truth. Eat only what he gives and nothing more. His food is brittle. It is Autumn’s dead leaves ? beautiful but startlingly empty of life. He will offer you a chair, a grackle, a shot of vodka. Together you will reminisce about the womb you once shared, your penchant for the drink, that one time you both rode in a limo as sleek and black as bottom feeder. The city lights had bounced and shimmered their reflection from all that tinted glass. The mirror image of your smiles almost too good to be a lie. Keep one eye on the clock, the other on the ashtray. The smoke will soon choke the room. The smoke will soon wrap clinging fingers

about your neck and rattle your carriage. The smoke will soon have its way with you. Do not forget about your shoes at the doorway. An impending getaway is close. His teeth are sloppy. His eyes too shiny. He spits more than he speaks. It is a cruelty you still marvel at to this day.

It is your father’s favorite knife handed down as heirloom. A dangerous and glittering bloodletting in your back. You are solitary witness to this disassembling. The music is banging again. It clangs its way into your ears and down your throat. A garbled elixir. He rambles on about his own desires and sycophantic

philosophies. He has shat himself again with all this righteousness. You are a livewire on the edge of your seat. The last wayward cigarette hissing in the pot. You only came to convey with your eyes that you love him. The lamp catches fire. The drapes incendiary with their madness. The television bursts into bright bubble. Shame and indignation have coupled violently. Steak knives and plates rattle from their cages. Beers burp their excuses. You will now take leave from all this mess. This sour soup. This spit and bright noise. He has stolen away to the kitchen and mixes a Molotov at the counter. It is a fiery reminder that you should leave. When his back is to you slink

away. Do not let your keys clatter your purse. Slip one then the other shoe onto exiting feet. He is mumble crazy and only two mouthfuls away from screaming the word bitch. Two shooters away from a handful of your hair. The carnage is too real. His house, an inferno. His house a tinderbox. The smoke, gutwrenchboil.

A rolling black intrusion. Leave. Leave now. Wave to him like you did when you were both children. Dandelion soft. Like a pinwheel whipping in the wind. The door knob will feel guiltily good in your palm, a smooth golden globule cool and reassuring. Close the door behind you. Softly and without anger. Pretend.

That you are not a coward. This is how you say goodbye to your brother.



Diana the Huntress

They say the number four bus enjoyed a certain reputation
its tires swaggering down a hilly road pockmarked by sage brush
loose in the axle like a man with too many beers under his belt

the fear exhaled from the women’s nostrils
fueled the trek ? a hot mist moist with the tang of terror
bus windows fogged by morning vapor
opaque and rheumy long after the women had vacated their seats

I took a pistol and placed a bullet into the bus driver’s temple
easily I deposited it there
the sun made a wistful track along the soot-covered sky
and the maquilas shut their metal doors against the day
El Paso glittered like a City of Gold from the other side of the border
a muffled silence settled into all of our bones

at the arrival of the next dawn
I took a second bullet
silver as the single bead from the rosary my mother wore around her neck
pregnant in the womb of the chamber
the bullet spat with quickfire and lodged
into the second man’s brain

again no pity, no sorrow-colored remorse
only the old number four tossed like a tin can
I walked away and did not run from the
dead man bloated and gray faced
is back and arms laced with the scarred
scratches made by the women who had not got away

The newspapers jabbered like angry bees
and the AP wire was alive with the electricity of my name

Diana the Huntress
and I fear no moon, Lady of Wild Creatures
La Cazadora worshipped by the womanly workforce
of Juarez

My sisters are frightened mares

Some might say I will perish in hell with the rest of them
the men ? adept at removing women’s faces
removing their breasts like too-soon petals
the milk of their skin, the floating flotsam
peeled beneath the killer’s knife

They like to leave behind bite marks on the buttocks
They like to leave behind dead babies cradled within eviscerated wombs

Decomposed flesh resting inside decomposed flesh

And should I burn in the seventh layer
it is of no consequence to me
place me in hell and I will kill them all again

should my skin peel from my bones
incinerated by the heat of the oldest sin
I will always think it worth it
judge me Creator for I fear no moon

no man
no law
no lawlessness
no rampage

I only ever wanted to fashion birds with these hands
I only ever wanted soft righteousness not a countryside
riddled with the husks of dead raped women

They were like wild mustangs, the dark-eyed girls, cuckolded
shepherded to the slaughter knees like young colts,
necks bared and naked breasts an offering to the swine

All of their holes raped, looted and left to spoil
the assembly plants are swollen with the limbs of women
the dirt is caked with their blood

Don’t you know
you who wrought me
wrenched me from my terrible anger
dug out from the shell of my sleep with a dirty fingernail
my rebirth whispered
upon the dying lips of women
one last jewel of blood dropped to the floor



one fine golden
and glorious





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