Poetry

Hummingbirds in the forest of needle and blood

Say there is a boy in a village. Say the boy is not always a boy, but today he is. Say he is wandering by cactus, not wanting to be stuck by thorns, but wanting to smell the flowers and gather the fruits, not on each leaf, because he is not greedy, but rather enough to feed himself and his people. Say the boy is stuck by thorns and begins bleeding, gets worried, gets lost, gets stuck by more thorns. Say the boy collapses, exhausted, and he is not sure where his tears end and the blood begins. Say he is crying, and the sound echoes through the forest of nopal. Say the wind carries that sound to another boy, a boy whittling wood, sharpening stones. Say that boy drops what he is doing, and picks them up again, ties them with leather, and goes searching for that voice. Say that boy hurries, and he is pricked by thorns. Say that boy begins bleeding, and crying, but keeps moving through the forest of thorned ovals and red fruit, each heart glistening with its own blood. Say the boy begins to echo the first voice with his own, weaving it, tying it with leather. Say each boy gets louder, but they are still separated by walls. Say each boy is frantic, crying, trying to reach the other. Say the walls are covered with blood. Say the walls get thinner, thornier, and one hand grasps another. And the cactus is just a sheath of breath, leather between two hearts, raon-raon-light, colibrí-quick. Say the boys slow down till they can find an opening in the wall, crack they can leverage, space they can push their bodies through. Say there will be more blood, more tears, more cactus between them. Say it will not matter. Say the second boy will bind the wounds of the first boy with leather, wood to splint his leg, stone to dig out any thorns. Say the first boy will feed the second some fruit, blot his blood with petals, dust his cheeks and chest with pollen. Say the second boy will bind their wrists with leather, not too tight, but enough to keep them from getting lost. Say the first boy will place their things in his basket. Say the second boy will grab a stick to keep them walking. Say they keep walking. Say they keep bleeding. Say they keep crying. Say they leave the forest of needle and blood. Say they return to this place, again and again, and gently touch each leaf. Say the wind keeps their story. The ground, their stories. Say their descendants keep returning, generation after generation, to gather fruit, make offering of pollen, point to the place of dried red-brown on green-pricked leaves, higher up on the branches each year, leave some leather, newly cut, some stones, newly polished. Say the blood we drink from each fruit is their own. Say this is story. Ours.

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