Girls guide to dreaming

Betina González




When I was a little girl
I dreamt of cowboys:
tough, bearded, silent riders
crossing dirty, sweaty little towns
never stopping,
just riding toward
gonzalez-betina01.jpg the desert, where the sun sets with
sandy mouthful among the coyote’s howl.

But in Buenos Aires
there were no cowboys,
no horses,
no howling coyotes.
We only had the widest river in the world,
a river with a wrong name
that fought with the city
for its petty silver mystery of arrivals and departures.

When I finally came to Texas
I found trailers parks,
auburn malls,
rare flowers,
tall, empty building
riding on the mountain
and a freeway full of inelegant greetings.

I asked about the cowboys
but people laughed at me
and pointed to the border,
where the cantinas
shelter the daylight
with dusty songs
and heartbroken tequilas.

“The only real cowboys are Mexicans” they said
—and that is something
every little girl
should know before dreaming—.



stavely-zaidee-guia03.jpg Once upon a time
in a far, far off country
a little girl
of a man
stroking his hands
on her body
that grew,
and grew,
and grew up
with precocious intimacy.

The rest of the time,
the girl was at school
learning her geography:
América es un continente
her teacher would said
but the girl knew she was lying
like a wicked witch
because America was a liquid
that fell upon her dream
giving the man his celluloid hands
his white suit, and his perverse sweetness.

stavely-zaidee-guia04.jpg America was that language
of guilty exclamation marks,
groaning, sea vowels
and disyllabic endings.
America was the port
where every fearful trip was done
and every prize sought was won
by bouquet sailor freshmen
that called their captains, poets.

América era un contenido
mucho antes de la geografía

that was what the little girl knew
but she said nothing
because she lived in a
far, far off country
and she was locked in a
tall, tall tower
where her body
began to shrink.

María Figueroa, ENAP-UNAM