To commemorate National Poetry Month, here is the third of four of my poems published in the Fall 2018 issue of Fifth Wednesday Journal. This is one in a series of poems about my childhood neighborhood in which I write about some of the real people (and real events) while imagining them as Mexican legends.
María Félix Gave Me Mal de Ojo
When she wasn’t making movies, María Félix lived
across the street from us. I visited her often.
She was kind and always had candy around.
One day I mentioned I’d learned a poem
for Doña Herminia’s escuelitaand she begged me
to recite it for her. I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t
say no to this beloved Mexican matinee idol
with Bette Davis curls, so I delivered the poem
for her with as much passion as I could muster.
When I finished, María Felix laughed heartily
and, eyebrows arching like seagull wings,
she clapped and murmured, ¡Ay, que bonito, Que lindo!
The next morning I had a fever. I didn’t go
to school and stayed in bed all day, the next day, and
the day after that. When mamátold her about me,
María Félix exclaimed, Pobre niño, he recited
his beautiful poem for me and I laughed
and I applauded with joy but I failed to touch him!So
María Felix rushed to my bedside with a brown egg
from one of her backyard hens. She passed it
over my burning body as Padre Nuestros
glided from her pouty ruby lips. I blushed
when I became aroused as she passed it near my crotch,
but she pretended not to notice. When done, she asked
for a glass of water. I thought she would drink it.
Instead, she cracked the egg into the glass and left it
on a bedside stand. She kissed me on the forehead,
then left, saying she had a new movie shoot
near Durango, with Jorge Negrete.
I lay there and stared at the egg for hours until
its golden eye rose lazily to the top then begin
to rise, like a balloon. It hovered above the glass
for a few seconds then sailed towards me.
I reached to grab, not really knowing what I’d do
with it, but it darted away, like a hummingbird,
just out of reach, where it floated. And then it winked.
And, like a moth, my fever fluttered out the window
into the night. I never saw María Felix again.