Lish was talking about how Mexico is a hard dame to break up with, how she's so difficult, with her roosters and dogs and loud cars, then she sweeps you off your feet with horseback rides and beauty and good food. So I asked Lish what she thought her baby would look like if Mexico got her pregnant. It got me thinking. I read somewhere, the other day, that the French surrealists used a sense of imagination that was "dizzying" and were therefore allowed to write nearly anything they wanted, that it provided them with a sense of literary freedom that hasn't been seen since. Clearly, they're great role models, but also serve as springboards into the nutty. Obsoive.
LETTERS FROM A FRIEND IN MEXICO
Mexico is the kind of lover who breaks your arm
before crushing you on the bedspread, she writes.
She simplifies: Mexico is a talented woman
in a boring brown dress and strips of old leather
criss-crossed around her ankles. Mexico is a ruler
who knows how to torment, who spits pepper
into the throats of roosters and carries like a ring bearer
their wild barking through window latches and keyholes,
who rolls the tire that propels the car that shuttles the boy
that holds the pistol that shoots a silver lasso around a pack of dogs.
She writes to say that Mexico has gotten the entire group
of women she travels with pregnant. That Mexico wants
to be a good husband but the children have come out
part donkey foal, part dove, part tomato vine, part waterfall.
They don’t live long, she writes.
They eat grass, sing, stretch, and dissolve. Her last letter
says she’s been told the only way to get home with her sanity
is to hop from rooftop to rooftop on the back of a trusted farm horse.
A merchant tells her so. He says he hears women escaping at night,
clattering across shingles, above the roosters and cars and dogs.
He says he’s caught them looking down on Mexico
as she calls up to them, promising things—
rivers, limes, rest—but the women in the sky can see
Mexico telling lies about her pockets full of sand.