Permanent Residents

(after Bridget Bate Tichenor’s Caja de cristal)

Declared on census, we’re
carte blanca.
Pallid faces crowned by
headdresses and sombreros,
burning Benson and Hedges,
floating on Moët & Chandon,
at home in the D.F. within
translucent five-star hotels.

On Aztec ashes stand
Ghiberti’s Gates, guarded
by stout doormen who nod and
mutter, “Gracias,” when we slip
them a few Benitos.
We Messina and Botticelli
Huitzilopochtli until
class is chiaroscurated.

Mexican fauna, lizards and
little boys selling chiclets
paw at diamond glass walls.
We muse through impenetrable barriers,
like when I push my air conditioner
to its mechanical limits,
create a chamber of ice
to deter cockroaches.