Chelsea Cefalu

La Bestia 

There’s a network of freight trains that runs the length of Mexico,

from its southernmost border with Guatemala north to the United States …

People call the train La Bestia, or The Beast. Some call it the Death Train.

— Wilson Sayre, NPR

Bodies compressed
arches, days atop
this train. The sun has
wormed through cracked
skin, aerating the cells
for sleep. A baby rolls
from tired arms — the rails a
gentle hacksaw.

No puede hacer nada.

He paid from his pockets,
but not enough.
The difference demanded
of his anatomy. Too
brave to be
a man, he took two
to the chest, flapped like
an owl in his landing.
Her fare wrapped
in sweet concha
bread; she offered it
to break. But it’s okay,
she said. The doctor slipped
her a pill in
San Pedro Sula.

No hay nada mas

except America —

the beast inside
the bodies.


Chelsea Cefalu earned her M.Ed from Lehigh University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Flutter Poetry Journal, Poppy Road Review, Decades, Bird’s Thumb, the Inflectionist, and Kentucky Review. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children.