Iguala de la Independencia
In 1970, my father pledges allegiance
to a dead man.
A student wears the Mexican flag slicked against his spine
pinned to his cotton jumper. Brass needles: nails; his country: a crucifix and
I rip faces out of magazines, perforating the covers, fingers hooked
into the holes, an iconic orange, of a pair of Fiskar scissors, remembering
an angry 43 branded into your left hip. Forever inflamed, forever
hidden beneath the lip of your Levi’s. A mother saves a seat
for the son who never returns. He lives
with his father inside a funeral
portrait, eyes and face stolen
by a sulfurous sun. Sometimes,
the lost are never found,
sins are never absolved,
and the cost of freedom calculated in pints
of blood is exactly 387.
Jasmine Cui is seventeen years old. She is majoring in political sciences, economics, and violin performance at SUNY Geneseo.