For most of my childhood I remember mom 
working at a mansion overlooking the bay in 
Monterey, California until she was fired. The 
guy that owned it went off to be Governor or 
some shit. If people knew what I know he 
would be in prison. I make sure he pays me 
to keep me quiet, I call it Mom’s Retirement 
Fund. While mom worked me and my two sisters
went with her to help. There was this painting I 
       remember. I admired it and still do.
Mom told me about it once. She said the painting 
is of tradition and meaning though, of a dying tradition. 
No reverence for the dead nor the living have we and 
when we depart from our ancestors we depart from 
spirit from ourselves. If we stay in shadows we 
cannot see that in the light we are the death of death.
In remembering their sacrifices we remain strong 
enough to dare and challenge and to not yield against 
the callous and ever present injustice and aggression.
The painting is not something I understood but
it was like it had a soul yearning to be free.
 
No boardwalk No walking Del Mote shore 
Neither for malice nor vengeance nor greed
       still they came to the Cal central coast
Entering the mansion on Empire in Monterey 
organized determined focused they are
Quick quickly they run into a great hall &
find the room it’s held & they stop n’ search
a moment Slowly they walk toward a fireplace
hanging above the fireplace is what they seek
One lights a candle & holds it towards the darkness
holds it toward a shadowy painting on the wall
Stand & stare the three in awe for a moment
two of them grip the sides of the frame & bring 
down the portrait the third whispers “Years 
leading to this and finally the soul returns home”
The night our trinity came to Empire Street
       they liberated a portrait to return it home
A child wears a skull in honor of Día de los Muertos 
holding a flower for a grave to honor the dead
standing near a tiger mask under a grey-gray sky
The night they came to Empire Street to save
Frida Kahlo’s ‘Girl with a Death Mask’
The night our trinity came to Empire Street
       they liberated a portrait to return it home
    
The dawn’s brilliance takes over providing a
Cistercian crown casting over Monterey Bay
a horizon to halo their victory It is as if a sigh
heaves from the soul of the earth The night’s 
grind is a small yet great revolution 
By morning the three have long gone to
a museum in Coyoacān Mexico which is 
Kahlo’s birthplace they may be caught 
but for now they defy those that would 
       entomb hope & civil resistance
Though they’re insane n’ dead as nails 
Though hope is often like holding a 
tiger by its tail & seems a venture 
into darkness darkness — do not yield
May we/they reach a safeplace before
       fate cuts us/them free
W.D. Reyes is a graduate of UTPA and UTRGV. He believes that be engaging in the community we can advance. He works on poetry in his free time during dead end jobs. 
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