Benjamin Garcia is my common name, but you can call me by my suborder:
Vermilingua, because my tongue worms into pockets. ¿Quieres
ver mi lengua? If you want to keep America America, better bolt it
down or lock it. Ahí vamos.
An anteater isn’t afraid of a cage, won’t hesitate to smite, transforms
its tropical depression to a migration
of wrath, machetes down its own path, though it contains
in its craw, a rainbow—un arco iris.
If you choose, you can crawl away from this, if
you brunt the gridlock and contraflow
on I-45 North, along the evacuation route.
There is an out
though disaster is never complete. Without you,
the domestic animal left inside
the house might still survive.
Though you are embarrassed
by something smaller than a crushed ant, the shit-stains
of cockroaches, pocking the spine of your English
texts, the edges of your spiral-notebooks.
A tongue isn’t worth very much,
but there is enough for everyone. Remember: there is no cage;
you cannot leave; the joke: why do Mexicans wear pointy boots?
To get the roaches in the corners.
We all had German,
American, whatever kind of cockroach
shitting on our books, in our alarm clocks telling us to go the fuck
to school, where with difficulty,
I learned in drills
to kneel in single file along hard and polished halls
where the floor confronts the wall, then cover my ears
as the storm roared above. My class was promised
a piece of hard candy
to complete this analogy: tire : hubcap :: hurricane : _______. You
keep those grades up, one day you’re going to make so much money.
So why do Mexicans wear pointy boots? I didn’t
delouse my tongue, because even then,
I knew. Nothing comes quickly but disaster. I would have to make myself
fat on what others might be made sick by. But where is your family
really from? What’s your native tongue?
I ate it—