Kingdom of Debt


According to a report from the University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico project, 138,000 people have been murdered in Mexico since 2006.

They call it the corner of heaven:

a laboratory, a foot at the throat

of an empire. Before the holy

dirt, the woman with the feline gait

waits with tangled hair, mouth

agape — the letter X marked

on what’s left of her breasts

and face. Nuestra Belleza

Mexicana. A roped mule

watches a man place a crown

on her severed head. Tomorrow

the queen will be picked clean

by the kindness of the sea.

Shuttered shops and empty

restaurants. Stray dogs couple

in a courtyard. Under a swaying

palm tree, a cluster of men

finger golden pistols, whisper,

aquí ni se paran las moscas.

Two boys, transfixed, watch

a pixelated video: a family fed

to a swarm of insatiable pigs.

A butcher sweeps blood

from an empty street. Death

is my godmother, he repeats.

Death is a burnt mirror.

When the crackling stereo

dithers between stations — amor

de mis amores, sangre de mi alma — 

a gaggle of silent children

gather before a sputtering

trash bin. Together they watch

the terror hover like flies.

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