A Poem by Marcy Rae Henry

Marcy Rae Henry

Marcy Rae Henry

Marcy Rae Henry is a Latina born and raised in Mexican-America/The Borderlands. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Columbia Review, Epiphany, Hobart, Cathexis Northwest, Black Coffee Review and Writers Resist, among others. Her work has received a Chicago Community Arts Assistance Grant and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship and has been shortlisted for the Fish Short Memoir Prize and longlisted for the Disquiet Literary Prize. One of her stories received Honorable Mention in the New Millennium Writing Awards and another was a semi-finalist in the American Short(er) Fiction Contest. DoubleCross Press will publish a chapbook of poems.

You can’t really drink out of a cactus

Even though Hollywood says nothing holds fresh water
                       like the plant that protects itself

Mis tíos drank beer out of cans
                       and asked us to bring them one after another

We were like the ‘h’ en español
                     A placeholder
                               La audiencia

Some of us swore we’d never grow up and marry tipos así
           Some of us swore no casarnos
                       to be rara like the ~ or el ʹ in text messages

          Would Hollywood have us laughing as we flashed forward
to my prima’s husband snapping móle-covered fingers at her
                       demanding: traeme otra tortilla

Would it show her telling him: get on up—y traeme una chela
           with música swelling in the background

Maybe it would show my familia looking at her
           as if she slapped him
                      as if she tried to drink water out of a cactus

Los del desierto know that unless it’s a special barrel cactus
           the green goo inside sickens you
                       maybe even dehydrates you to death

Even Hollywood knows that insulting your marido
          might get you una cachetada

Y no hay laugh-track at the border
           You’re not always sola
                      But you’re on one side or the other

Un ʹ isn’t todo lo opuesto
          of an ‘h’ en español
                      which bolsters the letter next to it

          Ser soltera isn’t the opposite of being married
Who thought to bring the cactus inside to be a houseplant