Three Poems – Alfredo Aguilar



in a forest of pine

you found a nest & held it in your palm. small speckled
eggs lay in a fragile home built of beak, twig, & spider

silk. you crushed the nest, whispered an invocation into
your clasped fingers & a flock of doves rose from

your palms. they covered the sky. it began to rain. i sat
inside a mountain with a meal of hard bread, grinding

my teeth down on the memory of hunger. how i tried to slow
the passing of everything sweet that touched my tongue.

the doves flew over the mountain & i heard your whisper
in wind that beat beneath their wings, in the raindrops that fell

off their slick oiled feathers. they were born of the map etched
into your skin. they lead back to you. the rain turned the dirt into

mud or what i was before i learned to breathe. the downpour, an incessant
knocking in a hallway of doors i would not open. the water pooled

at my feet, soaked through my boots, & the stitching began to rot.
in the beginning i told you i had never seen the night sky;

you gathered a handful of ripe blackberries & fed me each one.


the fear of what i would do

if pushed away turned her into smoke. i couldn’t see
it then, of course, how my hands were every other man’s
violent hands. she hid the moon’s pale hum in the back
of her neck. i put my lips to it & our dark hair turned into
a soft starless night. on a mountain at dark overlooking
the town i swore all the light could carry me if i threw myself
into the sky. she told me that as a girl she had lived believing
that the world was about to end. that at any moment, the earth
would split open & christ, having returned, would lead
the good dead to paradise. the crucifix that hung
on the wall only reminded me that we are not all worth
forgiving. in the middle of an empty street she birthed
a river in my mouth. when i looked behind me she vanished.
i called out her name & the wind fell. i asked for a reason
& i bludgeoned my body with gravel. whenever i dreamt
of her i awoke with a raven’s torn wing underneath my ear.


after one thousand miles though the mountains

i stepped into your house & cried. beside you
again i was eighteen. meaning, i did not

speak. you laughed at the beaner joke on the television
& i became smaller on the couch. you picked

at the pale dry skin on your hand until it bled
& knowing better, i said nothing. i was afraid, still,

of the way your anger crawled beneath your skin. i was
a reluctant mirror in your palm. you asked me

i’m not that bad, right? i spoke of your rage. its head shot
up from the water. i ran inside myself, portioned

the softer parts, sealed them in jars, & threw
them into a river. each time we entered

a brick building i looked for every way out. you fell
ill & i was glad you were not always beside

me. one evening i stood inside a storm. i wanted
the sky to touch me. you spoke of the desert,

which meant you wanted me to leave. we wandered
through a park, a trail of torn raw cotton above

our heads. we crossed a bridge, it lead nowhere.



About Alfredo Aguilar

Alfredo Aguilar is the son of Mexican immigrants. His work has appeared or is currently forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, Vinyl, The Acentos Review, & elsewhere. He lives in North County San Diego. View all posts by Alfredo Aguilar

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