local_library Mexican, American

by Alan Chazaro

Published in Issue No. 243 ~ August, 2017

In the 70s Pa wore bell-bottom jeans and styled

his afro like the Americanos he saw on T.V., back


when chest hair poofed from underneath leather

vests and sex wandered from salty eyes.


Pa never tells me about those days, about the drugs

and sleeping on beaches, but I can see it in the yellowed


photograph, him smiling like I’ve never seen before

with Wicho, Kiko, Ramon, Jackie.


His shirt is off and he is coolly flexing

a bicep while reaching back to keep his hair in its


immaculate form, concerned about

his good looks like I’ve never seen him before.


This is what I know of his past, how I learned

about the gringa with dirty blonde curls, blue eyes, thick


figure, standing with her arms around Pa’s shoulders

like I have never seen before. She is a skyscraper


among mud and jungle, wearing her independence

like a necklace for all to palm. I’ve never known her,


cannot make up her scents, am foreign to her flesh

pink lips, probably tasting of something else.


I only know her name is Connie,

and that she was Pa’s first wife. Over the decades


she has become the passport I carry in my luggage,

her legs an open road that veered north.

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Alan Chazaro is a public high school teacher pursuing his MFA in Writing at the University of San Francisco. He is the current Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow and a graduate of June Jordan's Poetry for the People program at UC Berkeley. His work has been featured in the Intro Journals Project from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs and has appeared or is forthcoming in Borderlands, Juked, Iron Horse Review, Huizache, Pilgrimage Magazine, and others.