At the Grave of Luis Omar Salinas

He has joined the legions of accordion players
With their repertoire of traveling songs.

On the day of his burial, beside his pauper grave,
The lid of his coffin was opened.

He wore a brown suit, dark tie, and serious smile
On his overly made-up face.

Who else hears him sucking his teeth,
Rolling a toothpick from one side of his mouth,

The snapping and clicking?
He would be surprised at his own trickery.

And the poets, six or seven of them, are moving back
Following the shade on a July afternoon.

He could climb out of his box
And sing his love-songs, given up for free

To a world that understands nothing,
Where he arrived with no consolation.

No more terrifying fiestas, Omar.
No more savage beatings with clubs of the piƱata.

Only small reminders, wilted flower petals,
Thoughts of romantic women, the jukebox and mirrors.

His marker: four-inch by 12 concrete rectangle,
stamped into it, Luis Salinas, 1937-2008.

Buried near the Kings River, and his beloved
Aunt and uncle, Oralia and Alfredo Salinas.

Winds will creep up during that night,
In the new morning, songs of blackbirds.

--Stephen B., Adult