On the day of the dead, Pablo put on his pants
one mummified foot at a time. It wasn’t
his fault, rain was the true culprit. Clouds
followed his feet for years, poured whenever
he tried to cut bread in the City of Glass.
His soles cracked, sprouting roots.
Julia entertained on her balcony,
levitating intimate secrets. People on 42nd Street
attributed her faculties to a Santero visiting
her family on the day she was born.
She stood tall and elegant like the mountains
to the south of Black Island, Pablo’s home.
Her face had traces of unforgettable pain.
They married. Julia, carried down the aisle
by two old lovers, found the last bottle of rum
hidden in the trash before the wedding.
She bled life into a gutter, no one recited her verses.
No one knew she was Ambassador to the Island of Poetry.
Pablo was one mummified foot at a time
closer to banging pots and starvation. Medicine denied,
orders from the dictator.
They are gone but I keep their marriage vows
to read out loud on The Day of the Dead.
Sergio A. Ortiz is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016 Best of the Net nominee. Second place in the 2016 Ramón Ataz annual poetry competition, sponsored by Alaire Publishing House. He is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.