When I was a girl,
I lived surrounded by an asphalt garden.
It was the same color as the cold.
Nothing grew there except a weed or two.
Cracked glass glittered in the gutter.
Morning sunrise sagged on metal fences
bracing from the barking dogs and silent old men
who sat for hours dreaming.
My eyes lived behind the hoodie of my coat so as not to see the dead things.
Walking home, sometimes running,
I refused it to let the ugliness take me.
My paint and my pen shot back the zombies.
Thrift store architectural digest was my hiding.
I grew up at war with cold, yet I am grateful.
Here stands a full bloom Tolteca,
an artist of the spirit, a creator of her fate.