La Llorona's Lover
How was I to know what that
crazy Indian would do?
She must of know it was not to be,
We were from different worlds.
Me, an army captain, with a gleaming
sword, and my very own horse,
a feathered cap on my head,
and gold braid on my vest. She
a peasant woman as brown as dried pine needles,
wrapped in rough schawls,
I had half a dozen like her,
tending small fires outside the
army bases up and down the river.
Something warm for the chill nights,
something soft for my weary head. She was
just like all the others.
Well, not quite just like the others.
She was the only one who press
a warm chicken liver into my hand,
and press the bloody palm against her breast,
so I could read my fortune there. She
studied the twigs in a fallen birds nest,
the way my generals studied their maps. She
rubbed me with herbs and animals fat to
deflect bullets, she said. I think she just wanted me to
smell bad to other women.
True, I returned often enough that in a few
short seasons, there were three little brown
children about. She said they were mine,
but their eyes reflected the moon the same as hers,
and I could see no trace of my family's poor, but noble
blood in their flat Indian faces. I played with them like
puppies, and never learned their names or gave them mine.
How she learned of the wedding, I'll never know.
Perhaps a bird ate a crumb of wedding cake
and flew and whispered in her ear. Or maybe
she read it in the muddy swirls of the river.
She was always gazing at that river. Who knows how
she learned of the rich rancher's daughter,
with skin that had never been touched by the sun,
and ten thousand acres soon to be mine? But somehow
She prayed to that river, I know she did,
and gave it her children to seal the curse.
"Let death surround him!" she said and each
sleeping child, drugged with witchery no doubt,
was laid in the careless brown arms of the current.
We both lost everything to her terrible curse.
Cattle gazed at the sun till they went blind and died,
and nothing grew on those ten thousand acres, not even
prickly-pear dared defy her power. My rancher's daughter turned
alabaster and died before my seed could root in her womb,
and now I am alone.
Was it worth it, you Indian dog?
Is your vengeance sweet in your mouth?
I hear stories, tales told in cantina's,
of a woman who wanders the river crying for
her children? Is it you? Do you walk and cry?
Maybe some evening I'll join you. Maybe some evening,
as you wander keening, I'll slip my hand in yours.
Maybe we will walk down
to the river and join our children