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by Lorraine healy

Blond of eternity, forever silk
and dust from Jun
its scent of departing train platform.
What is there left to say about her?
Life short, shiv-edged,
a crown of voices under the balcony,
la Eva.

In our tired familial myth,
my doctor Grandpa injected her with penicillin
in this or that cubbyhole of Alvear Hospital,
because she was always a puta" and she brought
the remnants of her gonorrhea, her syphilis.
We tugged our middle class behind us, its wounded
decency, the daily demijohns empty of wine,
replete of horror.

And more: Eva, my adolescent mother's
first cadaver, a girl dragged
to the lines in front of the weeping Congress
on that incomprehensible winter of '52—
to bid farewell to the fairy tale Eva, motionless,
wholly crystal, princess
condemned to sleep, perfect wax.

And for those who were not us, what?
For the ones who got her Christmas pan dulce, hard cider,
the brand-new bicycle, their first dignity,
for those with an intact devotion, Santa
Evita of the shanties and industrial suburbs,
a crass woman working cheap miracles.

If she had lived until wrinkles and fury,
if we had seen her in black by Paquito Jamandreu
with an armful of flowers withered with history,
her eyes hardening with the malice of cataracts. But no.

She left at the age of prophets.
To a heaven of guilt, the hell of memory,
the endless purgatory of having been Argentinean.
(And did you fuck her, Grandpa,
splayed on an examining-room table,
the future Spiritual Captain of the Nation?)

Eva of the poor, the General's sap,
fifteen year old of the railways always belonging to others.
Prodigal daughter of the provinces
Eva of the street market, of the slum, of the Bajo,
that stinking slope where mud meets brown river
which never had the silver it promised. Eva

with impossibly tight hair in a bun
on every billboard of the motherland.

From: The Habit of Buenos Aires by Lorraine Healy
Publisher: Tebot Bach  

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