20/August/2021

Funeral: A Thousand Hour Zoom Call

by: Nathan Erwin



Photo courtesy of Nathan Erwin

TO JERRY FUENTES

In Isleta, the last thing you said was,
A la mierda con esto. Me voy.
I guess it’s easy to spit
at freedom when you can fly
across the desert toward other dreams.
He never said goodbye,
Jamie sings,
with an asshole tacked on the end,
as they inter you in Truchas Cemetery.
We all watch on Zoom. Los acequias
estan cantando
, singing along
with the tall reeds and deep yucca root
and someone who forgot
to mute themselves says,
“maaan, shit might come to blows.”
Your family arrives. Stockman
with cattle prods and revolvers,
down from El Norte.

On camera, Jaime writes
your eulogy out loud, speaks into being     
a poem:
a wood-smoke transition, you rust into El Oso.
You lumber in this mesa’s forest, you appear
in the scenery of the next Jeremy Iron flick.
                        Meanwhile, Gloria moves
in and out of the screen. On Cheh Farms,
she’s lights candles, smokes cañamo,
buries the bread she baked for you.
Jamie as Mr. Irons shouts, Senior Fuentes!
You dog, you. You dagger
in the leg of the New Mexico Legislature!

You man-eating extra!
And when the alter is ready, Gloria is still,
caterpillar cocooned, rooted peyōtl,
in dominion to glisten. We pray:
Fuck Los Alamos.Fuck that lab
that paid you overtime to carry plutonium
then accused you of murder. Gloria visions:
your claws are tilling the fields, new vines.

You know this brutal day. There’s nothing
left to fight. Come back. Organize!
                        Too late–
You’re on to the next red pine, white cedar,
fishing the Rio Pueblo. C’mon, one more time,
sharpen those claws.                 
            Gnaw that bone.


---
About the poet Nathan Erwin is a rural poet, educator, and food sovereignty advocate. With a family tree rooted in the North and South, Alabama moonshiners and Vermont dairy farmers, Erwin grew up in the hills of Newark Valley, New York. His poetry has most recently appeared in Willow Springs, Levee Magazine, and The Cardiff Review. His first book Hemp & Farm Justice (Mandel-Vilar Press) is forthcoming Fall 2021. He currently serves as a poetry editor for Barrelhouse Magazine, lecturer at George Mason University, and Community Engagement Facilitator at Boston Medical Center.








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