Shelling the Pecans
for A. A.
I knew what a woman's hand could do:
shred the husk into threads, weave lips
together at the seam. Rock to hard body,
empire to thrust into knave -- the native
touch tocando música up the spine
of the violin, some song of silk and gut.
I knew race was a matter of degree,
that inch in the face, that notice
of dismissal. How to work all day
at a posture, at a stance, at attention
paying attention to none but the awl.
I put my hole into you, this notch
between the breasts, this discovery
and treason. Hembra a macho. Fixed.
O defined in the still shell of history,
a destiny written in the charts and lost. Lost
in the unnoticed memories of you, a flicker
of change, some small scrimp
of light. Tu luz. Ahí allá -- a la ala
and the scoop. Your aguila eyes sweeping
up the dawn's desire. This night. I remember
shelling the pecans. Nothing but a bucket.
No ride exceptional. Nothing but a dream
to entertain us. I dreamed this moment --
all the sweet meats in a risen weight going
higher to the rim. The price and the pricing.
I could eat what I missed or messed. Outside,
the birds bending to it on a summer day.
The great age of my grandmother's banded
hands weighing me down. The paper
of tutelage blasting me away
at that age. Now, I still remember
how to shuck, how to fetch it, how to
step it. Stepping up to you, I ask.
The point enters the ventricle without
shattering the meat. How a woman
on a good day can rip out the heart
(in progress - 8/25/06)
Lorna Dee Cervantes