Jasmine Cui

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.