Walking to Work at Dawn

I lifted my fist, sniffed the pig blood in my knuckles,
and wondered what crevice of my body
the pork would claim as home.
I once watched a curandera in an orchard of figs,
her skin like the bark of an ash, save my friend Jesse.
We washed windows at the car wash.
He felt pain, coughed up blood,
and thought years of ammonia fumes
had settled in the folds of his gut
that only magic could reach with its sticks of mystery.
A fire burned under a ceramic pot.
The curandera added pinches of mint and cat’s claw,
and then she stirred the water
the way branches sway until there is only wind:
a faith blue jays hold in their wings,
diving through the morning fog for fruit,
crying, “Squa, squa, squa, squa,”
just before the frozen ground slams home.

:: David Dominguez, Work Done Right (Arizona, 2003)

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