Elaine Sexton

Onion Field

Our friends wanted us to taste everything:
their dust and sweet air, their mangy
Mexican dogs, and banana leaves floating,
botanical, architectural. Here, they trade
mostly roses, fields and fields of their bodies
for sale in red bundles like firewood
on the road. Here, where the barb
in the barbed wire fence
caught me, onions roasted on a grill
with chilies in clusters I never dared touch
with my tongue. Only a small thread of me
kept snagging and unraveling as crops turned,
and miles and miles of fence
framed beauty like something lit by a match.
Did I know, even then,
our friend and driver, our host
would die, months later? And you,
whom I love, I would leave.
And the house where we stayed, year after year,
down a lane cut through onion fields,
would be sold. That I’d actually risk
not coming back to this place. Again. And again.
in memory of Jorge Voorduin

Elaine Sexton
Onion Field first appeared in RIVER STYX, Vol. 67.