Julio Casares
Like a Lion

There are few things quite as scary 
or powerful
as the hands of an ancient man
or woman
grabbing at your skin
or clothes 
or hair.
Nothing quite like 
feeling the cold tendons 
demand your attention. 
You see,
the voices are weak 
and the eyesight's a haze 
and the backs are broke
and the plot's been paid,
but the terror continues 
and the anger continues
through the grasp. 
(They yank you awake,
as if all the pain and fear 
built up over time
has concentrated itself
in that veiny grip.) 

I still remember, as a child,
getting my fingers caught
in the store display treadmill
at Kmart.
Abuelito, without thinking or speaking 
forced his old limbs
into action.
He grabbed my tiny wrists
with such power
and desperation,
like a lion, threatened,
takes its baby into its jaws.
I still remember
in his bone hands
that cryptic strength.
It was as if he were digging into the dark earth itself 
to pull me out

Harris Teeter U.S.A.

I saw an old man
In a grocery store
Behind the deli
Slicing ham

His white hair
In a net
His old hands
Wrapped in plastic

Julio Casares is a serious Latino artist from North Carolina. He is so Latino that his Latino has its own Latino, officially making him the rare double Hispanic.

Two Poems