j. l. navarro

Zona Roja

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Time, a commodity of mind that can't
be changed has aged her face.
"I had a man once," she tells me,
"who treated me like a queen. But
the vanity of youth and the stupidity
of my conceit destroyed what would
otherwise have been a decent life,
with kids perhaps and maybe even a
garden where I would have grown red roses."
Now I see her in this reddened
Light, the harlot that has aged
Beyond the help of ruddy paint &
Calvin Kline, to tell me in
Drunken delirium her woeful
State of mind and ask me with
Beer scented tongue if I won't
Have her favors to prove to me
How fine a woman she still
Purports to be.
Uninvited though she is, I sit and
Listen to her spiel in this place
Where women come to sell their fine
Honed wares and seek solicited
Consolation in the profaning arms
Of nameless strangers. One night's
Passion guaranteed with the endearing
Rustle of pungent smelling paper.
No questions asked. Not here
or other places like it.
"La chingada," she says with a
sudden hearty laugh, "has taken little
from my spirit." And
then she drinks her drink and
smiles a smile too tragic for words
of any color or description.
La Chingada has left little
Else, I think, but brittle
Nets of reeking, faded hardships
Traced and etched like long
Forgotten dreams on her weary,
Listless face;
"I live alone," she says.
"Time takes all," I tell her.
And then she looks at me with thoughts
Too painful to relate, hiding in her dark,
Brown eyes like melancholic tears too timid
To emerge.
I buy her another round and say,
"Good bye."
Outside I wonder what her name might
Be as I walk with Time gnawing at my
Flesh like a ravenous dog feasting on
A corpse not yet dead.


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