43 La campana

by Esteban Rodríguez

Decades later, and your mother is back
in Nayarit, only this time you are with her,
and from what you can tell there are no
remnants of helplessness, poverty,
of the reasons she migrated to a different
country. No, there is only a wedding,
and after the wedding, there is a reception,
a toast, drinks, and after there is you in a car
full of people and your drunk mother
sticking her head out the window, yelling,
laughing, cursing out the most random
of buildings, and making the car pull over
when she spots the church. And though
you feel embarrassed, though you want
to invent an excuse for her in your American
Spanish, you can’t help but watch how she runs
toward it, finds the bell and pulls the rope
over and over again, causing dogs to bark,
lights to turn on, people to come to their doors.
And as the bell continues to ring, you know
that whether she’s letting her hometown know
she’s here or flaunting how easy it is now
to come and go, she has the attention she wants,
and even if no one listens, they will have to hear.

ESTEBAN RODRÍGUEZ is the author of the poetry collections Dusk & Dust, Crash Course, In Bloom, (Dis)placement, and The Valley. His poetry has appeared in Boulevard, Shenandoah, The Rumpus, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He is the Interviews Editor for the EcoTheo Review, an Assistant Poetry Editor for AGNI, and a regular reviews contributor for [PANK] and Heavy Feather Review. He lives in Austin, Texas. You can find him on Twitter @estebanjrod11.