Mozart in the XXI Century
Venezuelan Wuilly Arteaga is an activist who was detained
and tortured by authorities in 2017 for protesting against the
Maduro regime while playing his violin in public.
He plays the national anthem
on his violin while people hold
a yellow red and blue flag,
The tattered seams of their country.
They sing Gloria al bravo pueblo, arms
in the air, mouths shaped like the tip
of a gun. The “o” in pueblo barrels
with such force, ten police officers
surround the boy and yank his violin away.
That bow’s a weapon says one. Sing with us
the boy says, ustedes son pueblo también.
But their loyalty is out of tune with their uniforms.
The boy in a cell. His fingers broken.
Outside a crowd swells like his bruised jaw,
their song unstoppable. He can hear
them through the ringing in his ears.
Once the ocean flooded his city,
and bodies floated past his house.
He sits up, braces for the wave.
Leonora Simonovis is a bilingual writer who grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and currently lives in San Diego, CA, where she is a Professor of Latin American literature and creative writing (in Spanish) at the University of San Diego. She is also a recent MFA graduate from Antioch University, Los Angeles and a contributing editor for Drizzle Review, where she highlights the works of underrepresented authors. Her chapbook manuscript, Waiting for a Ripe Mango, was a finalist for the Tupelo Press Snowbound Chapbook Contest (2019) and her work has appeared or is forthcoming from The Rumpus, Arkansas International, Inverted Syntax, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Kenyon Review blog, among others.