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Fushigi na Chicharron

(for Sergio Mondragón)

The body's hidden face
removed of its excesses
is cooked into a codex
that reads:          
this little piggy went to market            
this little piggy piled high
what's meant by surface.
Everywhere a nation awaits, 
a cardboard raft
soaks through. Everywhere is
a drink of water                                                                            
swimming with the dead:
Leagues that can't be reached 
or spoken.

A man in the plaza 
sweats beneath
the synthetic hide 
of historical sacrifice
and does a dance
making tourists 
in t-shirts
so alive.
Far north 
an altar will be built
for the seamstress
forgotten in piecing
such garments.


The question, as we sit 
by the grill, becomes:
What is the real animal 
between us?
What skin do we stretch,
scrape and tension with
our desire 
for expansion? For books
that leap like bodies
not our own?
So we can never end
with more or less
than this:   What
does it mean to start here, 
with a taco de chicharrón,
as if to say "fushigi na en"
the encounter and consumption of skin
launches every ship?

"Fushigi na en" is related to the Japanese concept of fate or destiny—i.e., when two people are bound to meet or feel a connection upon meeting. Chicharrón is fried pork rind.

Copyright © 2011 by Rosa Alcala. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2011 by Rosa Alcala. Used with permission of the author.

Rosa Alcalá

by this poet


She tosses a bolt of fabric into the air. Hill country, prairie, a horse trots there. I say three yards, and her eyes say more: What you need is guidance, a hand that can zip a scissor through cloth. What you need is a picture of what you've lost. To double the width against the window for the gathering, consider