From The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingénue
On a day without any breeze the Commander is strolling across the sleepy square when he hears children chasing a round-faced child – Gordita, Gordita Chocinita they call. He asks the priest who has become his interpreter what it means and on learning it means piggy girl he tells his henchmen to find the child. That afternoon the villagers cannot believe their eyes as the men, having built a huge fire in the centre of the square, hang the child trussed up like an animal over its flames. The child screams. The people plead and shout. The Commander inclines his head and the men fire a round of shots above the crowd to silence them. But it’s you who are responsible for this, he drawls, you are the ones who named her Chocinita in the first place. His voice carries in the stillness like smoke rising lazily on a day without any breeze.
This poem first appeared in Long Poem Magazine.