Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith


When I imagine refugees fleeing a revolution
I dream dead white skies, some lush desolation,
and wagons pulled, limping, pushed.

Refugees stamped with Lorca eyes,
walking in dust days
out of lives. And everyone
walks, hands full of just last week,
believing in lives that easily vanish.

This is how my mother speaks
of her grandmother. The chickens
running in circles, even without
their heads. And in late morning, sorting,
separating the small hidden stones from
the frijoles. Asking how much lard
is too much lard? The sizzles of lard
in the frying pan happening every day.

Paula my mother‘s grandmother,
felt annoyed when her daughter-in-law
traveled to visit her family
in Mexico City, but she held the alone time
with her son like days in the campo with no wind.
All her life she refused to speak
English. As if English was a fork
used to consume soup.

And her before life? The man who fathered
her two sons? The ranchito? Grief
makes us all more beautiful.

Her Father’s Dinero

It was clear that she was buzzed
again, but she looked
like a gorgeous guera
who leaped out of a Rivera.
Her feet dancing a path,
before she waterfalled
onto the hard wood floor in the cantina.
Olivate, this is where the Eddie guitar riffs
cascaded into my imagination.

She rose in a pirouette
of rebellion. Her silver t-shirt,
pink mini-skirt and adidas kicks
fighting the mangy white boy blues
that invaded the whole room.

In her smile she announced
the perfect gringa grito.
Otro día we discover the best margaritas
in Tucson. She made me loco
happy when she spoke
in her totally güera Spanish.
Claro que sí, I grinned back.

We sat in the rays of the sun
our young desires hidden
behind sun glassed faces, and
pop-culture stereotypes. Como
that a-ha pencil drawing video.
When she waived her father’s
credit card to pay la cuenta,
I felt it was a type of reconquista.
Claro que si, I thought.

Allow me to speak freely and
banish my inner pinche boy scout.
I was ready to spend the rest of my
three indulgences with her
and blast through her father’s oro.

Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith was born in Merida Yucatan, grew up in Tucson Arizona, and taught English at Tucson High Magnet School for 27 years. Since he grew up near the border and in a biracial, bilingual home and taught in a big urban high school where over 70 percent of the students where American-Mexican, much of the poetry he writes explores these experiences. His writings have appeared in 580 Split, The Laurel Review, Lunch Ticket, the anthology, America, We Call Your Name, and other places. Chris’ wife, Kelly, helps edit his work, sometimes.