Amor por Oaxaca by Jenny Browne


Everyone here seems to agree
about the crooked heat
but never about the wind.
My love says it will turn on you
like it did on me, says where
will we hide all this wind?

I say the speechless girl
that all morning sits
patting a stuffed rabbit
seems somehow related
to the minor politician
who owns this hotel.
I’ve seen his enlarged face
on the back of every other
bus that runs up Pino Suarez.
Amor por Oaxaca! repeats
the bright blue slogan
below his grin & I believe
but my love has grown
a beard & left
me so I can only imagine
how he tells the story
of the scar that still plows
pink around the back
of the rabbit girl’s small head,
while all night & all day
faithful cicadas rewire the air
with their high thirsty cries.
From here there appears
to be a human-sized human
inside each giant puppet
preparing to lead the parade
back down Avenida Morelos
but I can’t see anyone clearly
from where I stay behind
with all my freedom & my dust.
For the rest of the afternoon
I watch a grey horse walk
a straight line with her front legs
hobbled. Amor por Oaxaca!
They all say the cicadas cry
for the rain that doesn’t come
& also from the rain that does.


Jenny Browne is the author of three collections of poems, At Once, The Second Reason and Dear Stranger. Her poems and essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, At Length, Blackbird, The New York Times and Tin House. She has received the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two fellowships from the Texas Writers League. A former James Michener Fellow at the University of Texas, she lives in downtown San Antonio, Texas and teaches at Trinity University.