Fire – Louie Ramirez

Trekking through the tall grass; underneath is unknown.
Snakes slither and scorpions shake their stingers, feeling
trembling pulses vibrating on the ground. The critters
Stay low, interpreting and absorbing their anxious fear.

Shivering shoots the droplets off their damp cotton
Shirts, falling like massive raindrops onto the brown
Dirt beneath the brush, alarming the creeping inhabitants.

“Ya mero llegamos. Ya se que están cansados. Recuerda,
El sacrificio y el dolor. Como un boxeador que va ganar
La pelea, continuamos. Si no, perdemos por renunciarnos.
Vas a tirar la toalla?” Juan says. “Andale. Levántensen.”

Gasping, kneeling, they gaze in admiration. Moses
Without a staff, leading the Israelites to the promised land.
If only, for they desperately desire water to flow from a
giant boulder, or the grass to part for their grand entrance.

The strong whistling wind slices through their stiff bodies.
They swim standing against the invisible current, pushing.

Behold, the marvelous mansion is reachable, an abandoned
Spanish hacienda. “Bienvenidos,” it says with open arms,
Politely awaiting their arrival. “Por fin,” their minds whisper.

An empty fountain stands in front, dry like the travelers’ mouths,
A pale tree once beautiful, now its branches leafless, dead as
the Homeowners, whose souls drifted up like sacrificial smoke.

Holding a palm-sized rock, the traveler grunts and launches it.
The flowery glass window shatters into tiny scattered fragments.

Up go their eyes, looking to the ceiling sky, awestruck, jaws
Hanging. Turning, the brick-stacked chimney stares stolidly still,
Ancient firewood sitting there with its legs crossed, a wife who
Has stayed up to gleefully greet her husband after a day’s work.

St. Michael slaying satan hangs deteriorated, the picture dying.
Decaying angels barely holding on to the hand above the precipice.
Its grip loosening, a tear runs down, realizing the inevitable fall.

Huddled and sitting Indian style on the yellow-stained marble
Floor, like an Aztec tribe camping in the winter wilderness,
They pour the sharp alcohol onto the stacked lumber, drunk.
Violent and unrestrained, the flame rises, a beast now awake.

Fear forces them back; desperation throws clumsily a green,
Moist, paisley bandana, but the demon roars and rejects the
Quelling attempt. Towering, mimicking the manor, peering
Down at the helpless hombres, who’re at the mutant’s mercy.

“Córrele!” the leader commands. The clan concurrently
Scrambles out the lofty exit, sweating and panting, scared.

Reluctantly, ‘round they glance; memories hellishly burning.