Monday, July 29, 2013

Two Poems for Monday

By Daniel A. Olivas

"Letters to Norco"

My letters to Norco
kept you sane you said.

Three years there for
selling meth.  But I
wrote to you so you
wouldn't forget me.

And you wrote back.
Beautiful and sad letters.
Strong letters.  But the
third one scared me
and then made me mad.
You told me that you
rented my letters
to your homies for a
quarter so they could
beat off to my sex-filled
longings where I told
you what my mouth could
do to your body and what
I wanted you to do to me.

But then I wasn't so mad.
And the thought of your
friends getting off from
my words made me smile.
So I made each new letter
even better, hotter than
the last.  And when you
wrote back and told me
your homies loved my
words and that you could
charge thirty-five cents
now, I laughed at my

And on your release day
as we stood in the August
heat outside the tall fence,
you held me and whispered
into my hair that we should
get married as soon as we
could and have lots of babies.
And you said my letters kept
you sane.  And I said, me too,
mi amor.  Me too.


"Woman Gets Probation in Child Neglect Case"

They found you,
alive, yes, but
nude, caked with
dried ketchup
and jelly, lying
in a baby's tub
watching TV.

What did your
mind think of as
you wandered
the house alone
for almost three
weeks?  As you
peed on the floor,
scavenged for
food, drank water
from the toilet,
did you know that
your mother was
in jail, that she
didn't want to tell
the judge that she
had a daughter
who would need
care while she
served her time?

Did your mind
wander from
Sesame Street
to the dark
stillness of the
night to the
thirst you needed
to quench?

Will you remember
this time alone or
will your life be
filled with other

Your mother is
home now,
receiving only
probation instead
of the maximum
ten years.  Your
mother is home
now, to fill
your life with
new memories.

Will I read about
you again as I
drink my morning
coffee?  Will your
mother make
another headline
as my son sits
across from me
enjoying his
Pop-Tarts and
laughing at the
funnies?  Will
I have to explain
again to him
why my eyes
have filled with

["Letters to Norco" first appeared in Indiana English.  "Woman Gets Probation in Child Neglect Case" first appeared in PULSE.  Both poems are featured in the unpublished collection, Crossing the Border.]


Adrian said...

I didn't care for the first one much. But the second one was really good. It made me sad. Very sad.

Corina said...

Very powerful poems. Both filled with their own sadness and hopelessness.