2 Poems | Paul David Adkins

La Llorona Would Like to Talk with You, America
Your churches are gun shows.
Your Bible is Soldier of Fortune.

You worship your weapons
down to the pins,
to the barrels.

You salt your french fries
with scrapings of carbon.

I like you.

I like what you’ve done
to make me at home,

to make me
sharp as a man’s shadow
creasing the crook of an alley.

I’m just some woman
planting myself
by the playgrounds,

trolling your streets
in a windowless van.

What would Mother
think, and what
would make her proud?

The children gather.
They clap and laugh.

I’m jumping the rope
of a rainbow,
whipping it
to a pink blur,

all dressed in black black black –
Maria Mack Mack Mack!

La Llorona Witnesses the Arrest of a Woman Who Blamed the Ghost for Killing Her Children by a River
Police be, like,
Bitch, please,
slip on the cuffs,
her first bling.

No one believes

she hid the boys from their father
beneath a bridge above the river.

His beatings drove her there
one February night.

They didn’t
even drown,
but froze.

Who am I
to ice a child?

But it was me
who doodled flowers

on the children’s cheeks
with that silver pen of frost,

who lined their lips
with blue.

I howled
when I found them.

Every borracho in Santa Fe
stumbling home
heard me,

fell repentant in the arms
of their saintly wives.

I sniffed the children
like a dog
would snort
and nose
a sack of trash.

I kneeled.

I kind of prayed,

laid cold centavos on their eyes.


Paul David Adkins lives in New York and works as a counselor.


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