Paro Nacional

Paro Nacional
by Mary Ann Christensen

When she walks, there is iron
in her face, but not her fists.
These, stuffed in her pockets,
share space with lint and loose coins
and the idea of justice.
She does not bother to paint
her mouth and knows her presence
is faceless,
the limb of a crowd,
and therefore beautiful
in itself.

She is a fingernail.
An eyelash.
The wink
of the masses which salutes
authorities, small armed,
with serpentine movement,
coquettish and proud.
Footsteps honor the footsteps of others–
the elders, the lost and never found
(my third grade lunch-box, my memory).
They echo in the reverb of coarse guitar strings
plucked in national stadiums,
in the unwavering gaze of loaded guns.
Her footsteps obey your footsteps.
There is history in chanting,
in the verses of a broken song.

Mary Ann Christensen – Paro Nacional

Mary Ann Christensen is from Santiago, Chile, where she currently resides. After majoring in English, she now works as a teacher for middle and high school students. Besides marking papers and writing, she dedicates her time singing out of turn and out of tune and drinking tea with those who love her and endure her rambling. Mary has been published in several independent magazines and journals, and more recently, in White Rabbit:English Studies in Latin America, where she has recently been asked to be a submissions reviewer.

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