Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LA CONDUCTORA DEL DESEO/CONDUIT, by VIRGIL SUAREZ

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LA CONDUCTORA DEL DESEO/CONDUIT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The woman, la conductora, at number 51, corner
Subject(s): Hispanic Americans; Women; Latinos

The woman, La conductora, at number 51, corner
house, the red door, she with curlers in her hair,
everyday she sends the neighborhood kids out
to steal eggs, chickens, broken-down furniture
for her stove on which she cooks the tamales
her husband sells on foot, better known
as the woman other neighbors come see about
this business of electricity. See, she's the one
with the main power lines coming across the street,
from the mainlines to a pole which can be reached
from her kitchen window. She runs her web
of lines all through the neighborhood for a nominal
fee, of course, and nobody can snitch on her because
she happens to be the president of El comite, which
controls mostly everything, and between her power,
her cooking, and her husband's corner kiosk, they
live, she says, asi vamos viviendo, you make do
in this land of necessity, mother of invention,
and the house is falling apart brick by brick, panel
by panel, and the children bring her lime she dilutes
with water in buckets and fills holes, paints every month,
specially during the months of storms, these down-
pours that wash everything through the cobble streets
to the river, then out to the sea, which she can look out
from her makeshift balcony where she dries clothes,
fish, smokes meat, from here she keeps her eyes
open for Yankee invasion, at night, she says
she comes out to smoke her cigars and look out
beyond the bay's buoys and beacons at the horizon,
watches for battleships, planes, anything suspicious,
and everyday she spots them, the people on rafts,
leaving, waving goodbye, and she doesn't believe it,
how often they go away never to come back, and she
Keeps her mouth shut because anybody crazy enough
to get on an inner tube or a shambled raft deserves
a chance to make it, maybe not, and when they dip
into the horizon, she closes her eyes and spits
on the ground, the cigar embitters her saliva,
and she utters a prayer under her breath, a litany
of words that run out of her like the electricity
she harvests, these currents coming in, coming through, going out.

Copyright Virgil Suarez.

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