3:08am, January 2011
There will be handcuffs,There always is
A full body search
Evasive and belittling
A minor assault
His Israeli Army trained hands
Wrapped about the throat
The thumbs driving
Down on the trachea
Then the strained breathing
That startles his narcisstic palms
He’ll let go,
His crime incomplete
Find another way to chalk outline
The dignity that enter with
This hollow body.
He’ll stare at the mark around the neck
Like a foolishly tied red ribbon
Or a collar he
Didn’t fasten soon enough.
It will be days before
The full extent of the damage is realized
Before every breath
Feels like a bruise.
my brother was 16 by thenhis hair greased back like the cholos
on the corner of Daisy and 7th street.
he would spend hours
on the front stoop watching them pass,
to and from the
liquor store next to our house.
They always left with a brown bag
they didn't purchase inside.
They’d take boys to the alley,
between Vickey's hair salon and the coin
see those same boys
come back broken, bruised, battered brothers.
they never looked at my brother though
as he struggled to get their attention
blasting salsa from his boom box
throwing weak smiles like gringo gang signs.
They would call him pi sah,
spit on the ground in front of him
and pass by him like a stray dog.
he knew they were right
as his pants became looser and
his t-shirt angrier.
he grew tired of sitting, waiting,
finally faced four of them,
gripping a fish gutting knife
(found in a box of our father's leftovers)
demanding membership as if it were a boys club.
they laughed and I did too,
on the inside where it doesn't count,
as he lunged forward scraping the short ones shoulder.
in silence he gaped at the perfect maroon stain
emerging on the boys white t-shirt,
slowly, a small blood lily blossoming.
I'm sorry he whispered, head dropping.
the others check their friend and laughed.
you want to die white boy
fucking look at us again and you do.
get us hombre? they didn't touch him.
one spat in his face but never a touch.
muttering pendajo and laughing they walked away.
my brother threw the knife in themiddle of the street, went inside
washed the grease out of his hair,
and sat in his room smoking faros con filtro,
waiting for the day he would marry a hyena,
prove he always belonged.
Denise R. Weuve’s work has recently appeared in Bop Dead City, Curio Poetry, Emerge Literary Journal, Gutter Eloquence, Red River Review, and San Pedro River Review. She teaches English and Creative Writing in Cerritos, California and collects paper cuts, and other miscellaneous damage to display in glass cases (her blog http://deniserweuve.wordpress.com/). Contact her at Inkdamage@gmail.comor follow her on Facebook or Twitter.