Sunday, May 28, 2017


By Juan Montoya
Doña Mari is having a pulga, once again
She’s pulled out the folding table
and laid the clean white cloth upon it
and neatly, like an undertaker,
lays out her goods

Along the river road that natives trod
And Oblates walked, preaching of God
Where Thornton skirmished
and soldiers died
Sits Doña Mari, biding her time

Like clockword, each Saturday, the neighbors see
Doña Mari,
under the shade of the mesquite tree

A few cars stop and we can overhear the talk
“How much you asking for this cartridge belt?,” asks he
“You mean this green one, by the worn fatigues,” says she
That was my son’s, my Juan, the one he used to wear
I still remember when he taught the neighbor kids to march,
and turn, and do right face
You should have seen them marching through the living room...
You can’t imagine how much pride I felt...
Oh, no, I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t sell that belt.”

“Well, how much for that dress cap with the shiny bill,” she’s asked
“He’s wearing it with his dress blues here,” she cuts him off, and picks the photo up
“You can just see how proud he felt, trying to look so fierce,
so...official, can you see?
But you can tell that he was still so young, my only one, my Juan...
I’m, I’m sorry, I just can’t see myself selling that one.”

“Pardon me, sir?,” she asks the man with boots in hand
“I asked how much you want for these,” says he
“I was in the service once and...”
“Oh, how he used to shine and shine those boots
until he saw his face on them,” she said
“‘Spit-shine’ was what he used to say...
Now, why did I bring those out...No, no, no, they’re...they’re not for sale today.”

Her hands wring the faded apron as she moves among her wares
The hands that counted rosary beads
Each night he wasn’t there

“And this folded flag with medal pinned?
How much for these?,” she’s asked
“Oh, no, I can’t, that’s all this country left to me,” said she
“A week before I got them, two nice young men knocked on this door
and when I saw them, standing there erect and neat,
they tried to act like they were used to it...
Then they told me that my son was gone...
In distant, hostile sands, they say he died
I screamed at them that they had lied...
That my son Juan, my only one, was coming back...
Don’t ask me how, I just know that...
So you see, I cannot possibly sell that flag
Perhaps you’d like a nice backpack instead?”

The cars are gone, the light of day subsides
As Doña Mari gathers up her wares
She neatly folds the greens, and packs the gear
In the green foot locker she keeps near

The belt, the boots, the picture dear
And those old fingers pull the long white table cloth
and in it wraps her goods
Doña Mari will have another pulga soon
and out will come the boots and belt and then the folding table
And she will lay the long white cloth upon it
like a shroud


Zeke Sauceda said...

Ay, voy a llorar! LOL

Anonymous said...

Sentimental, juan? LOL

Anonymous said...

On Memorial Day we give thanks for those service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this nation. We also must give thanks to the Gold Star Mothers and the families whose loved one didn't come home from war. Thank God for all our service members and their families.

Anonymous said...

Why not a profile on that great "veteran," DA BLIMP? LOL

Anonymous said...

Eddie Lucio,III is a fucking coward, juan!

Anonymous said...

ooooooooofale. DA BLIMP is complaining of comments. Pobre vato panson. Largate a la verga, cabron! LOL