The narcotraficante commanded me
in gestures, take off your blouse.
Then he jerked it, scattering buttons—
smooth and pink—along the ground.
I wanted to undress with more
dignity; a delicate slowness
that might alter time,
might turn back his hands.
From a place beyond the Christmas
lights, he yelled—"whore."
And mimed a woman kneeling,
hands lifted to her face.
He must have knelt too
because I felt the muzzle
find the soft swale of my temple,
a part I notice only when exhausted.
A little ways off,
above the desert brush
and trash, beyond the factory fence,
aware of the zipper and what he used
to subdue me, I watched a blue light
rising and falling, falling
and rising. To me
it looked like Tepeyac
and the dawn.
And, against his shadowy line, She swaddled
me in a protective veil, wrapping me in roses.
Rose Marie Berger is poetry editor for Sojourners magazine.
For more information on women in Juárez, Mexico, see www.mujeresdejuarez.org .