There will be no authoritative
version, ever. Like coal,
ballads are found chiefly in mountains.
Not Florida wetlands, unfolded,

exposed. The pulse is love, sometimes
pressured by heat into hate.
No moral. No right side. Ballads
start at the end, are incomplete

without salsa and merengue.
Without rainbow strobe lights swirling.
So gather the flashes. The dancing.
Dissonance. A woman pushing

her son to safety. The shirtless boys
carrying the bleeding boys
out to the street. Preserve the half-
forgotten, fugitive noise

of weeping mixed with singing. None
can recover the sense. Down
the petals crash and break. I’m sick
at heart and I want to lie down.