Melinda Mejia.

Indiana Jones

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,

Indiana Jones,

So many adventures promised.

American culture for rent.

My dad, whose broken English reminds me of

our weekend trips across the border

for doctor’s visits, paletas,

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.

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