Ernesto Trejo

The President Is Up Before The Fruit Vendor

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The president is up before the fruit vendor
and goes to bed after the bus driver.
He says: History is unfair.
If the president has a toothache, we grieve.
If he smiles, we smile.
Sometimes we think we like him and we sleep
happy for it. But once we are asleep
it's different. He worries
and makes laws about our dreams.
We may not dream in other languages.
We may not dream about a life without him.
We may not dream if he's out of the country.
But there are ways . . .
We dream while we work and while we eat.
When we smile at him and shake his hand,
we're dreaming. Sometimes we see his picture
and dream of his glasses streaked with blood,
his chin tunneled by worms. Around the mouth
that punishes and forgives a string of flies
silences what could be a last word. Below,
his chest is covered with the spit of children.
Since we have never seen his eyes
we don't dream about them; they are windows
that send their black light into our hearts.

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