There is a store in our town
that sells me the English language
in Betamax videos, later in VHS.
My father, my brother, and I go
there on the weekends; my mother uninterested
stays home or in the car
circling pictures in the Valley Mart sales ad.
On one side there are rows and rows of stories,
Santa with a bloody knife,
A man, a woman, and an emerald,
So many adventures promised.
American culture for rent.
My dad, whose broken English reminds me of
our weekend trips across the border
and strolls in the plaza,
gets as much enjoyment out of this as I do.
We can have the best of both worlds
On the other side, guns on the wall
and ammo locked away in a glass case.
My dad will say something to the clerk in Spanish
About hunting, perhaps?
I peruse the adventures,
anticipate a story where the woman acts strong
but is still vulnerable.
Sometimes I imagine I am her.
But most of the time, I’d rather be Indiana Jones.
Upon Taking What is Mine
I took him away from the water,
from the trout in the spring
that knew his secrets
better than I’ll ever know.
I took him away from the winter,
from the cold and the snow
that chapped his lips
and chafed his hands.
I took him away from the solitary woods,
from the hidden trails
and the silence of thinking
that kept him sane.
I took him away from the love of his kin,
from the gentle voice
of a sweet grandmother
that kept him safe.
I took him away and gave him to the summer
with heat that singes the hairs on his arm
and makes the air thick and hot in his lungs.
I took him away and gave him to the highways,
to days filled with the noise of a back and forth that never ends.
Sometimes when I catch him in a far-away look,
I imagine he is dreaming of home
and I want to give back what I took,
to return him to the water, to the winter, to the woods,
until I realize that in his longing,
he is nowhere better
than with me.