Poetry - Issue 21 | October 2014

Two poems by Mike Puican

La Calle de los Salvados

A messenger on his bike at a light and
a horn-rimmed girl in a Camaro around

whom a salsa rises. Celia Cruz sings:
I am but a wind-tossed leaf longing

for a lover’s touch. No one
waiting in this traffic would be surprised to see

the sun darkened by this girl’s tear-streaked face,
to see her smudged blue eyelids make

disappear the clear, widening sky. Two dozen
schoolchildren walk through her tears.

They carry flowers from a garden
her heart has trampled through.

The messenger’s hands are golden; they’re
pollen covered, just as her red leather seats

and matching purse are pollen covered.
As she waits, the entire fourth grade

class slips inside her heart. She
thinks: Why have I cried so long?

The traffic light turns green and two sounds
break loose: the beating wings of the cellphone

in her handbag; and a street-fair tuba
played by a black bear announcing spring.

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About the author

In 1970, after hearing Jerry Rubin speak, Mike Puican hitchhiked from a little town in Pennsylvania to Chicago to join the revolution. He is still waiting for that revolution to happen. Since then, he has lived in Chicago and Toronto. His poetry has been published in the US and Canada in journals such as: Another Chicago Magazine, Malahat Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, New England Review and Parthenon West.

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