Kendra Preston Leonard

There’s gold in your mines, Brazil:

the gold from Avó’s teeth.

There’s silver to be found in the mud:

the necklace my irmã always wore.

My sisters, my cousins, the canteen cook,

your father, her brothers, their aunts,

the house the teacher lived in,

the store that had the best acarajé,

now become the new place to mine.

The headboard of lattice

above the mud-crushed bed,

the glasses and tires and helmets,

the lunchbags and pencils and cups

become relics.

Have you found bronze, bombieros,

searching for all you can find?

That might be Tio’s medal,

the one he wore for luck.

I see the helicopters hover

with bodies in their nets

bringing a funeral

to those who wait

in the graveyard.

We all carry the coffins

thought they’re not always full

a box brings consolation

to the grieving.

Is there a hand in your net, with a ring, bombieros?

A ring with a date inside?

Perhaps you have found my amante.

Show me, and I will know.

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Kendra Preston Leonard is a poet and librettist based in Texas. Her work has appeared in vox poetic, lunch, and other venues, and her latest opera libretto, The Harbingers, will be premiered this October in Chicago with music by Rossa Crean.