Jan/Feb 2007 Poetry

La Frontera

by Christopher Lake

Artwork by Ira Joel Haber

La Frontera

You are staying in El Paso on the night of July 4th, sitting out by the pool while fireworks sporadically illuminate the desert dark across the river. The Rio Grande. Rio Bravo del Norte, as you read it is called in books. "We don't call it that," your girl tells you, but still you like the sound of the words. (Boom.) (Flash.) What could they be celebrating over there? You ask this to yourself. No one answers. The answer, if there is one, is irrelevant anyway. (Boom.) So you sip your mescal, strictly forbidden in the pool area, and wrap your arm around your girl's waist. Poquita gordita. Bueno. Si. The dry night air is still hot from the day. You wish for the salt sea humidity of other places farther south and also north, but in all cases where there is green and where things grow and bloom without coaxing. How many of those places have you known, really known? You consider life—your life—more and more like fine, beautiful music that you don't remember except to know that it was beautiful. Your girl is kissing your neck, saying something you can't hear. You listen anyway. The fireworks sound like an artillery bombardment. What's the war over? You can hear her, but you imagine she is whispering about where you will go, where she will take you, the things you will do in those places. You know that you will eventually forget all that too, but you will go. You will go.


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