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74 the minnesota review Danielle Hickney Esteli Esteli is a woman with a child at her breast and a gun in her hand. She is mother raising days from nights; Soldier lifting a gun from her throat in full voice; Nightwatcher looking out for Ughts. She crouches in a cordon of mountains cut jagged and wise, advancing with the cunning of crabs in sand. Here it is always night. Here is the present danger. Under rushing rains, through the shiver and sweat of equatorial nights, the people of Esteli wiU march, will even dance (beating time) in resilient streets of mud. (Here at a high point I see them marching, their heads move in and out of the sky. A woman in fatigues walking with her child in hand breaks clear. I see this and my eyes close, realizing the sacrifice.) They come out. They carry their school bags, down to the cemetery where there is singing and dirt falls to the time. They eat mangoes in el parque whUe ten thousand voices chant to captured contras. What fruit wiU they eat when these men are dead? (A Uttle boy pisses in the street; his mother holds him, shrugs, smiles. The puddle runs between us becoming in its shape a century.) They come out. They look up and cast delicate notes defiantly at mortar fire and push-puU planes, persuading the air to be stiU again. They flick their fate off easily; they cannot be meek. History demands they open skies. 75 Los Perros A dog in a doorway eating a rose. Smelling it even, for it smeUs good, as roses do, as you know. A dog, a rose, and the sun after rain. Can you smell the air? (I smell it too.) At night the dogs and the roosters are all the same. They aU howl as though someone were ringing their necks or sticking a gun between their eyes. Screaming dogs and barking roosters lug the contras into my bedroom at night. They sUp them under my blanket beside President Reagan's face and a child's Ump hand. they do this while I sleep; they have no mercy. The crippled dogs are named Quasimodo, Cyrano, and Don Quixote. (Perhaps you have seen one of them? When you meet one, you might think— as I did— "here is an old version of myself" and they will laugh, they wiU know. Dogs always have the advantage with the guilty-at-heart.) A dog on the side of the road in front of La Plancha, (where a white-haired writer and I ate Nicaraguan food last night) Ues this morning with his legs up imitating cockroaches I have encountered on their backs in the kitchen cupboard. He is stiff and his face is covered with blood and flies. He is dead and people are stepping around him as though he were a drunken bum in New York City or Washington, D.C. But he's been living here in Esteli. 76 the minnesota review "Pershing" is our dog. "Pershing" my papa teUs me, Uke the missiles. But my papa says, "Pershing es buena. Los Pershings de los Estados Unidos son mal." I think there must be more dogs than men in EsteU. Dogs aren't trucked to El Frente. They stay at home and lament the dead. You wiU find them in the barrios, begging for meat, Ucking their wounds, laying in a doorway eating a rose. ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 74-76
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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