Body & String Beans

by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois



The body of the Yucatecan woman
is blue
and like a wheelbarrow
or a table

I embrace her body
Her womb is the source
of multiplication and astronomy
I embrace the trunk that supports
the tree

The maize of the tortillas she is kneading
turns her fingers yellow-tan
her wrists
her forearms

but her upper arms stay blue
like the sky lighting the morning
when birds come to drink from the pool
and iguanas quickly nod their heads
in prayer to the god of sex—

They are so lonely
so stoic
they have forgotten their stoicism

They are unconscious of their morality
as the Yucatecan woman
is unconscious of hers

She is short
she is broad
she is blunt

Blue is peace
maize is peace
her fingers shape the tortillas

Her ankles are thick
her shoulders rounded
The twinkle is so deep in her eye
it cannot be seen by others
or herself
There is no mirror

She doesn’t worry about love anymore
All her loved ones were
crucified on the swords of the henequen plant
that were woven into rope

but for every loved one enslaved
and murdered by a hacienda owner
and the American capitalist
investing his enterprise
seven more spring into being
immaculately conceived
sons of God
free of hate
or desire for vengeance

Their bodies are like wheelbarrows
or tables
They roll down paths
support simple feasts

String Beans

Her breasts are small
her belly flat
Birds flutter around her
as she plays her wooden flute

Her multi-colored clothes are flags
that flutter in the breeze

Her sister pities her
Her sister wants everything
She doesn’t want everything
Everything would be too much to bear

She plays her flute
Birds flutter around her
She sells string beans in the farmers’ market
They are long and green and bumpy
and when she’s not playing her flute
she examines them
She wants to learn them thoroughly
Customers are drawn by her flute’s melodies

She refuses to sell her sister any string beans
If her sister had some of her string beans
her sister would have everything
and her life would collapse under the weight

so even though her sister is angry at her
and thinks she is infantile and bitter
the truth is the opposite:
she is saving her sister’s life

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Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over seven hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.

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painting by Jane Gilday

Arbor Birds

(acrylic on panel)