Cathy Gibbons

Dumb Blonde

High noon.
Pacific heat:

The no-teeth village boss, laughing,
tosses baby shark to the back of the boat
where I’m sitting sunburned and jumpy,
the big gringa joke, but I don’t cry.

I stare him down;
Waves slap the lancha wood;
We return to shore.

     My hair is long and blonde.
     I am stupid and fearless.
     The old women say
     “God is busy.”
     They cook on earthen
     stoves when there’s food.
     We bite chiles and tears.

I forget my mother;
Thanksgivings set in silver;
Tuitions that trained me.

     God is busy.
     I make corn tortillas, sleep in hemp hammocks,
     wash my clothes in the salty river.
     Little girls help me
     hang childhood on the line.