5 pieces from Mi Sin Manitos
By Amy Bobeda
Springing a circle of chalk from hands drying sweat her lifeline splits.
Nerves chatter a mischief of magpies. Una oración para despejar su
camino. Her mother sweeps the stairs. Her father’s head in hands,
her own collecting saline, swirling a white paste she wipes across her
face; marking aliento de pureza to keep the Crossroads man away.
Thirty restless fingers twitch, clench, pray.
The moon round and hollow cups sticks and twigs under
toes of an angel el color de María. Artemisa wards off lonely wolves stomach grumbling a pinch between shoulders beads another dose of
sweet companionship, la memoria de Papá rakes leaves jumps into alas de monarca, wings rise orange fluttering dust. Hunger lusts la seperación de su familia—what was could never again, ahead of a her a moat reflects la luna reflejada el sol.
In his hand a small green worm escapes the pear. Plump and fertile
inching across his skin, quiero casarme the girl he says, the Queen
glancing from her novel out the window spies the maiden sin manitos
in wait for darkness to tongue another pear. Inching her eyebrows
closer together, a pause creeps into fear she’ll never answer. A
magpie replies outside the garden. Dogearing the pages, she closes
the book and nods.
In pain branches bud pink, mi sin manitos grows grief in her belly
until it explodes the infant, Triste, crests anillo de fuego, burning her
body apart, the Queen wipes her face with a soft cotton rag singing la
canción de mariposas, whispered to budding cocoons, mi sin manitos
curdles her breastmilk, streams three cries until Trieste’s echoes. In
the distance Mamá folds yokes into batter, wrapping warm bread into
her hands humming What Child is This.
Seven years grow Triste in the likeness of his father, his mother’s
silver hand uproots a radish in the garden. Una monarcha lands on
her knuckle, el corona del sol still glinting her ring finger. Giggling
Triste romps into nearby water, swirling a current sputtering a cry
clamoring for air, mis sin manitos thrusts her hands in the water,
pulling, sinking ,drowning her artificial skin screams el Ángel de
María holds her waist, heedless handless flailing. Milagro del agua
weaves bone from stone, skin from mud grabbing, grasping hands
su manos hold her son reborn.
raccoon bark splayed
the trunk of an angel
bottlecap clam on
Amy Bobeda holds an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics where she founded Wisdom Body Collective. She is an editor of More Revolutionary Letters: A Tribute to Diane di Prima. Her work can be read in Entropy, Vol1 Brooklyn, Denver Quarterly and elsewhere. @amybobeda on twitter.