--for Mario Reyes

An avalanche of mud fills the houses
of the entire barrio, and survivors
call police on cell phones to see if they'll come.
We can't get to Chaletenango

so we'll drive through Tonacatepeque
and Apopa, sidestepping Vera Paz
where house-sized boulders tumbled
into streets after crushing the laminated

homes of los marginales. The man in back
is a mason, albanil. I sit next to him.
He builds houses for Habitat.
Last night his house filled up with mud.

When it got to my neck, I got up on the roof
and climbed into another house. It, too,
filled with mud. All the houses this morning, gone.
Me llamo Lazaro, he says. Como? I ask,

How is that? Lazaro, he says again.
We're driving Lazarus to work,
to build a house. Where I'm from
we don't name children Lazarus.

We don't ride with men brought back
from the dead. Lazaro, I ask,
Can I take your picture? I describe
his blue striped shirt in my notebook

for verification. I take three pictures. And then
I take one more. I ask, Lazaro,
can I get in the picture with you?
handing the camera to Marden, who's driving.

Good, can you take one more just to make sure.
Lazaro builds houses for his pueblo.
Mario asks Lazaro if he needs anything
before we set out with rebar in Apopa.

Jim Bodeen
13 de noviembre 2009
San Salvador

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