Apology to a Man Whose Face I Don’t Remember
The driver’s voice cracks
at the word ladrón as you,
holding on to something
wrapped in a cheap plastic bag,
run through the market’s stopped traffic
towards our car. Another man
walks round from behind the bus
stopped in front of us and levels
his pistol at your body
still scrambling across the hood.
The man doesn’t say stop,
simply, mi bolsa, and shoots twice.
But you run on anyways and I never see blood.
Yes, the bullets cracked from the gun,
but the hit sounds
more like a large stone
being dropped into wet sand.
Still, you keep running,
the driver, cheeks flushed, continues
mumbling ladrón as if that were
an explanation and not a prayer
and the man doesn’t even chase
after you, he keeps walking,
and the market goes on selling
old Fanta bottles filled with Horchata
or Hibiscus and newspaper
cones full of fried pork skins
and I’ll remember every one
of these details, but not your face.
Instead, I’ll remember that
the plastic bag you were holding