Indian Summer


Day is dying a neon death.
The house halfway up the hill is splayed wide
open, a TV chatting with the crickets.
They’ve propped a fan in the foyer to
suck in the last of summer’s fumes, to
dangle from her decadent stillness.
My eight-year-old shadow
floats by in the
soup, skipping
cracks in the sidewalk,
surrendering to that quadrupedal
pull of the Id
from the other end of the leash.

She Speaks With a Certain Silence


All these years, and her
midnight lines still slice
right through the daily roar of traffic,
revealing the roots
beneath, all the sprouting smiles.

Back home, you kneel, thinking
how you have never seen
yourself in a better light than
when before her eyes.
They place you so very far and beyond
the mumbling flesh or babble of bones.

She speaks in a certain silence,
for hers is a love outside words,
rising and falling
under your hand, pressing
together the seam of your side,
stretching way out past the corners
long after she has
left the room.

-For Frida. We miss you terribly.

At the Back of Our Minds (II)

Dear Mother,

You come in kernels of
sunlight and raw maize. I press them to my tongue
so that your voice may flow through me,
a torrent of honey. It alone speaks
my name.

Our classmate,
when she could not see another god amidst the
clouds, she was planted waist
deep in the dirt while our hands were filled with
For days after the laden rain she
bowed before the sky,
the flies dancing around in praise of her
And of our betrothal to War.
We now carry his plot of homeland,
our own youth supplanted by
the rising bellies below.

Soon, a new night shall cry for warmth.
With her I will share your


As the title suggests, this piece is meant to  be a  a companion/successor to the first poem I wrote about he subject, ‘At the Back of Our Minds’. To date, of the 276 schoolgirls of Chibok who were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014, only 57 have escaped.  One of the girls, Amina Ali, was found safe, with child, in May of this year. In an interview, she gave an account of her experience as a captive. I used the details of this account as an inspiration for this poem: Let us not forget those who still remain far from home.



Between Peaks

Imminent guests
and your face
at the bottom of my bowl.

I drown you in a sky of cream, yet below
there is this wretched wailing of beaters
as they careen to and fro,
jabbing wildly at your impassive
steel skin.

Until peaks begin to form.
Now the beaters and I,
silly little selves,
we are swimming in
mountainous sighs birthed
by the universe.
She rescues her stray parts,
folds them back into the whole.

We savor sweet billows of humble pie on
the way to a knock at the door.

Take July


For we cannot.

It is already bloodied,
cursed to repeat the fate of a namesake who
fell, riddled with betrayal,
to the floor of the Senate theatre.

Give us Quintilis, the original month,
so as to lift rogue rains of lead from the streets.
There are promenades to resurrect from
beneath the tread of errant machines,
marketplaces to be defused of improvised
outbursts of fury.

A musician
simply wants to circle a town square
without losing his head.

Hasten the arrival of the 31st day, so that
tomorrow may shed its foreboding.

upward bound / hacia arriba


From your patio you see
the asphalt serpent.
She passes hurriedly,
searing the surface,
with wasps of conquest
bullfighting upon her back.

You close the gate.

You sink your roots into the earth,
kneading the years,
stroking the centuries,
the millenia,
sipping the amber
that they whisper to you
in return.

It is not that the buzz
never nibbles at your insides.
You simply know
you want to grow upwards,
not out,
and that you are here, after all,
to bear fruit.


Desde tu patio ves
la culebra de asfalto.
Ella pasa de prisa,
chamuscando la superficie,
con avispas de conquista
toreando sobre su lomo.

Cierras la verja.

Te hundes las raíces dentro de la tierra,
amasando los años,
acariciando los siglos,
la milenia,
sorbiendo del ámbar
que te susurran
de vuelta.

No es que el zumbido
nunca te mordisquee por dentro.
Simplemente sabes que
quieres crecer hacia arriba,
no hacia afuera,
y que estás aquí, después de todo,
para dar frutos.

-For Mercedes/ Para Mercedes