“Las Hierberias”

December 4, 2008
By Nicholas Hébert DIAMOND, Austin, Texas
Nicholas Hébert DIAMOND, Austin, Texas
84 articles 25 photos 0 comments

I was trodding down a dusty road
Silent but not forgotten
A slow, conspicuous mystique
Yerberia La Santisima

Both sides lined with the same business in competition
It seemed I’d been before as in premonition
So there, I was right in a place bound in superstition
Hierberia el Indio, Yerberia Afro-cubana, Yerberia Santa Barbara

I knew no memory misconstrued it
For every corner, every brick of every wall of every hierberia was familiar
A store out of 1 floor of a 3 story building stood alone at one end that read “Ropa Usada”
Across from Yerberia Venezuela,
Yerberia Columbia
I entered to the smell of beer and the scent of smoke
In the midst of clothes and junk and no one spoke

I knew I’d been here too
Everything I dreamt was true
Every coat on every hanger
Every face of every stranger

Every shoe, every belt
Every wandering gaze
Every dim-litted haze
Glazed over the ending day

I bought nothing, ate of nothing, drank of nothing, and asked of nothing
For this place was strange
I departed silently every face deranged
Peering into the lots of gravel and fray
Sitting soundlessly under the day of grey

One left, one right and I was done
It had ended as quickly as it had begun

Las Hierberias

The author's comments:
This takes place in a town called McAllen, Texas
Note that a Hierberia or Yerberia is a voodoo or witchery shop in which palms abnd tarots are read, etc.
nearly an entire street in the present downtown is dominated by these yerberias. The poem is actually based on a premonition or a dream that made this place seem familiar to me.

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