Para Ti

by Enrique García, from the collection Tortoise Boy Says

For the nights long like the trails home.
For the thick atmosphere of liquor and oración.
Para caminos antiguos and shattered dreams
of a chance up north,
but tonight,

para ti.

The apparitions living under
grandmother tongues and stories
weaved in our blankets.
The humid breath of the Sierra Madre;
ella duerme mientras the festival jolts,
bringing to life
the joy and wishes of the town—
each one released as neon lights
capture our shadows.

A wish for you:

Bottles of tequila containing sunrise,
and we drink ‘til then.
Wishes lost to lime, to salt,
to ash and ash.
For a wish is half prayer and half dream,
let us pray in our sleep,
and if you let me

I will dream for you.

For the catnaps we take
and the dog years that escape us.
For the countless aunts
we never knew existed
and their tales of
how they raised our mothers,
sometimes even the last names we carry.

For cold nights and burning afternoons.
For dancing horizons and sunsets lingering too long.
For magic in the merchant’s pocket.
For the eternity of spirits enclosed in my fist,
and the days I felt were grains of corn,
slipping my grasp—
y las noches que vivirán like tonight.

Estas cosas son para ti:
War drums circulating the churches,
cries of battle from the Mariachi,
explosions in the sky and cumbia sprouting
from beneath the ground.
Flowers falling like spirits we evoke though song;
part-time indians dancing over-time,
and Gods exploding into confetti—
slowly kissing the surface we stand on,
todo para ti.

For the days we smiled together.
For the nights we named after the deceased.
For the walks home.
For the festivals in honor of our ancestors.
For love that will never know its limits.

For the kisses on my cheek that felt
like tunes from the street-corner jukebox—
heavy yet weightless.

I’m sorry for not saying goodbye,
I didn’t know how to love in a second language.

And I hope you find this wish,
placed upon your doorstep, tonight.
While the festival is alive,
I hope your memory
decides to finally forgive.

Este deseo es para ti,
it will always be for you.