La Casa de los Azulejos

Photo: © Stephane Cocke. All rights reserved.

For Ximena Gómez

Summer’s over. It’s cool enough now
For the dog to rest outside, the sun
Warming his back, tufts of fur sticking
To the wooden deck. A month ago,
We were in Mexico City. I
Photographed you and Elisa at
The House of Tiles, standing in front of
That picture of Zapata and his
Men having coffee at the counter,
The waitresses dressed like English maids,
The dark hands of the Zapatistas
Curled around white cups, eyes ignoring
The camera. They’d come on horseback—
There’s a picture of the horses too.
They were planning to kill Madero,
But Huerta beat them to it. Black and
White photos are all that’s left. Six years
Later, Zapata would be dead, his
Body photographed one last time, his
Name written in big white letters on
His chest. Back in Miami, there’s not
Much history, at least not like that.
People come here to get away from
History, from revolutions gone
Wrong, from no jobs and little to eat.
The stories here are usually
From somewhere else, Colombia or
Cuba, Peru or Nicaragua,
Stories told on the immigration
Forms you translate, the ones people are
Reluctant to tell. Out back, the sun’s
Moved behind the oak trees, and the deck
Planks are a patchwork of thick shadows.
Philodendron vines climb up the fence.

Author’s Note

La Casa de los Azulejos or “House of Tiles” is an 18th-century palace covered with blue and white tiles. Since early in the 20th century, it has been owned by a restaurant/drug store chain.

About the Author

George Franklin is the author of Traveling for No Good Reason (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions 2018), a bilingual collection, Among the Ruins / Entre las ruinas, a broadside, “Shreveport” (Broadsided Press), and he is the winner of the 2020 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize. He practices law in Miami, teaches poetry workshops in Florida state prisons, and is the co-translator, along with the author, of Ximena Gómez’s Último día/Last Day (Katakana Editores).

Appears In

Issue 10

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