by Roy Guzmán
The shame of a shadow
can only be judged in the murk.
His chest was a neon
calliope when he
spoke in the hut.
I followed the maze
on the alligator’s snout,
oranges in place of teeth,
thousands of teeth
leading to the marsh.
The flood from my mother’s
mouth pruned my feet.
I peeled my lips for dinner,
the deer in my stomach
slept. Planets fell
like guavas upon the
roof, asking to be
let into the heart’s cell.
You break the spell
whenever you yawn
Sometimes I fear the light
more than the shadows’ tongues.
My beau sets off alarms at the airport.
He came back from a war
America replays inside arabesque bedrooms.
As a rule, he makes love to me when he needs
extra-virgin oil around his shoulders,
my own echoes dishes shattering inside his chest.
He shot a child in the face. Shoots him every night
around the same time, though the child is now
older, and my beau has come to realize
why the headless child resembles him.
He says he’s got a little money saved. He says he wants
to buy a ranch somewhere in Wisconsin (he’s never
travelled there). He wants the Pantagruelian pots
slamming against the pans
contained by the bitter frost of the North.
It’s not that I hear a man breaking down
when he’s most passionately expressing his tin
obsessions. It’s that the dishes fall,
I’m suddenly ten, and I can’t pick them up
fast enough when they pour out of the cupboard,
my baby fast asleep:
a winding clock with snakes to tell time.