Interventions

Lauro Vazquez

after Ernesto Cardenal

 

It is poetic to say Sandino’s spirit lives through Nicaragua, but we want to bury him physically in a cemetery like anyone else.

—Walter Sandino, quoted in the New York Times, 201 

 

“We searched and searched,” said graveyard administrator, Elías Zapata, a stout former Sandinista special forces soldier. “The remains are gone. It’s like the hands of Che Guevara.”

—Zapata, quoted in the New York Times, 2011

 

I never thought I’d come out of this war alive but I always believed it was a necessary war.

—Augusto César Sandino, 1934

 

& Augusto César Sandino 1895–1934

did not die fighting

Marines up in the mountains

even though they hunte 

him with airplanes & truck 

& with floodlight 

& tear-gas bombs & with

radios & dogs

& police

 

& Sandino

fought

the war

smiling

from up ther 

like a miniature

lily clenched

to the mountainsid 

sprayed with pellets

of rain & mis 

& light drizzles

& sleeping with

a rifle slung

over the shoulder

& wrapped in blankets

smelling slightly

of coffe 

& sweat

 

& it wasn’t

until after the war

that he was betrayed

shot down at thirty-nine

by the National Guard

together with his father

& brother Socrates

& his two generals

Estrada & Umanzor

& the poet

Safonías

together

together

together

together

together

together

holding hands

hands

hands

togethering

against the

firing

squad

 

those hands

are they makin 

funny faces like school

children behind the

teacher’s back

are they clumsy

and heavy like donkeys

with their big

human eyes

nimble and light

like seagulls

full like breasts

filled with milk

those hands

are they hiding

their soft touch

under rough &

yellow

fingernails?

 

yellow

& soft

like bees

like big drops

of honey

carrying grapevines

to the sunny comb

filling the sunny comb

with all

they touched?

 

 

LAURO VAZQUEZ is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s creative writing program, where he was co-editor and contributor at Letras Latinas—the literary program at Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies. His poems have appeared in Mandorla, The Café Review, The McNeese Review, Ostrich Review, and elsewhere and recently garnished him a fellowship from CantoMundo and the Nicholas Sparks Prize.