El Tiempo Pasado
The shrubs are flush—branches scarlet
by the red brick dormitory.
Rolling past Hickory Hill park
leaves blaze into miniature suns.
In our backyard, the swing set is
as empty as a hollow gourd,
a small childless yellow slide
that slips beyond our son, and us.
On the lawn, fallen leaves curl, dry,
deeply embracing. Stray whiffs of
smoking leaf piles flare nostrils
despite the keep of our moist palms.
My head is heavy with sleep, dreams,
while I read a poem in Spanish.
My eyes have forsaken darkness,
but my feet ache to float away.
Downstairs, in the kitchen, you chat
with a long-distance friend;
there’s a buzz like Abuela’s ghost
whispering caution in my ears.
A boxelder bug crawls across
a setting sun framed by a pane.
Father of small tears, will she cry?
Into ash, her face blazes, ash.
To the Double Flower of Spring
(for C B-D)
Although you die, you do not die,
your eyes are bright like blue pebbles
swallowed by pale handkerchiefs.
You are the soar of ocean waves—
fierce song and cry of the sirens—
long eyelashes flickering sunlight.
Beyond reason, I walk under
bruised dusk, and ask the widening sky
for more, double flower of spring.
In April, your lively footsteps,
your honest words swell the spaces
between the twitching minute hand.
Heart-shaped face, the lion sun roars,
blasts over our bodies from a time
pulsating stars were newly born.
Into time, our names sky rocket
into the white between blue lines,
rise from ancient stardust, entwining.
I was a Jesus Impersonator
dressed in brown leather sandals
and a sack cloth when I encountered
another Jesus impersonator dressed precisely
the same way—we strolled past each other, irritated,
while tiny lizards sunned on the rocks.
Listen: dozens of crows were clamoring
atop the treetops surrounding a sea
of white crosses while a blue patch
of sky dispatched angry, ultimately violet
clouds that failed to notice me discarding my clothes.
Relaxing, in my sunglasses, steamy
with heat rising from the hot tub,
suntan lotion wildly tickling
the delicate hairs of my nostrils, I barely registered piano
keys that splashed like Koi tails in a pond.
I thought of hope—that empty excuse
that crumbles before winter when the miles
of dune waves churn over themselves,
and the sky closes as gray as a coffin lid, something
even a Jesus Impersonator cannot bless.