Freeway’s Limp Veins! Pumping oily oxygen
CLING CLANG CLING CLANG CLING CLING CLING CLANG CLANG…CLING
The Gold Line slinks off its rails—happy kitchen clanking
Lily Valbuena Llach, call me Lila
Knees busted open by Big Bad Quake
‘Lo hecho, pecho, nods Coyote
If the freeways are veins and the survivors coyotes, then that makes me…dead.
Freeways are veins, survivors coyotes,
That leaves me dead…nonono oxygen
QUAKE! Makes Picassos of our bodies QUAKE!
Lila and me, arms as legs now WE CLING
A lo hecho, pecho, says Lila
As we steady splintered bones clanking
The Mash-Up People Are The New Kings of Los Angeles
Abuelos touch thumbs to checkers clanking
Mumble of pots and pans—meat of Coyote
Sniff that sizzlin’ sausage! Smiles Lila
Lick my fingers! Taste is oxygen
Run my muddied hand across your face—the smell will cling!
Sweet Pea, remember before The Big Quake?
Loosened skirt of summer before the Quake?
Dress that smelled of love and limes, and clanking
Junctions that twinkled pink in sunset, cling
To faces of worried mothers, heads shaking with taxes, sly as Coyote
Breathing coupons like purest oxygen
Hands smell like fire and tears now, Lila
SQUINT into the fading sun, says Lila:
When I was young and full of possibility
Arranged my life in words of dead men—can’t you see?
Sucked in so much of their prophetic oxygen
Now from their mouths to mine feels cold like porcelain
Once Quake did hit their words fell limp, and in my heart a pronging
Blunt clanking of tin speech was all that met my longing
But to dead mens’ words I still cling—
The folded Lila of Los Angeles sighs
I brush her tears away.
Dusty San Gabriels sing out LILA!
To broken spirits and bones we cling
Sweetpea! Will you make me? Asks Lila
I press her arm in its socket CLICK Wow! says Coyote
You were terrible at Tetris before The Quake
Smacks lips, his hungry bones clanking
Savors oils of our hair like oxygen
Rubber limbs cling, wait for belch of next quake
Lila fumbles steel latch clanking
Coyote cups his paws: Here, Sweetpea, last oxygen
Rosa Boshier is an MFA Creative Writing candidate at The California Institute of the Arts whose work spans multiple genres. She draws inspiration from the possibilities of border crossing, both geographic and personal, and her own family’s patterns of immigration. Her work has been featured in journals such as The Rattling Wall, and she has published three books through Redline Editorial. She is currently an editorial assistant at Sublevel Magazine.