In this ghost story, missing is breathing.
Through the punctured lungs,
whispers bounce off like shredded curtains.
In-between, the heart. A tired muscle,
ashy arteries barely cradling
the surge of blood.
Some days, it is still 1985.
I’m floating in the salt water pool
alongside my grandma’s friends,
large straw hats on their heads,
brimmed cheeks too itchy to move.
I am too shy to swim with my kind.
Some nights, I lie in my parents’ bed,
flecks of dreams stuck to my face.
Eight bites is all you need to get
the sense of what you’re eating.
One hundred dirty-footed devils
jazzing at the back of my tongue.
Death charm begins at the back
of my other grandmother’s garden,
past the vines and the spring onion patch.
Across the dusty road,
the graveyard reeks of blooming lilacs.
A flock of sparrows takes wing.
At the root of my wet paint dreams,
the great longing to be together
and the great yearning to escape.
the iron smell of boiled eggs
at the back of my mind.
A listen-to-this, broken thrust.
The message says
Mami, you are posting like the post office!
Unapologetic and sharp like a razor blade.
My friend Juan’s smile,
spiraling into the thick of my morning,
all the way from Cali,
tastes like a fruit of unfamiliar name.
The CHONTADURO. A god’s given fruit.
To be eaten with the eyes.
Next to my laptop screen, a bowl of sliced apples.
April is no giver. A smear of green,
a shade of sun, a touch of bloom.
Missing tastes better in words.
Through the thin Venetian blinds,
over the tall patch of sky,
birds erupt like rash.
Their winged, passing throb
puzzles the air, my throat full
of cascading feelings.
One grandma made it
through the night, the other one
remembered to take her pills,
one kid, softly curled on the couch,
ruining teeth on Cadbury buttons,
another getting lost in my clothes.
You dangle your left slipper,
sipping coffee and watching
worries peel in the air.
Days like these foaming
with little celebrations.
A meandering walk into trees
under cold pellets of rain,
a sort of emptying of senses.
Making space inside,
for silence to bud,
then toss a cone pine.
Have April nip at the edges,
showers and sunburst alike,
each breath to feast on.
And there on the bench,
have the day ready to burst,
about to crack all grief,
young poems blooming
at the corners of the mouth.
in things with feathers,
dreams and blue tilts,
nesting memories of lizards,
the abundant touch of lost humans,
mismatched skull earrings,
the call of the lavender
field painting down the hallway,
fragmentation of speech,
Te ube! before going to bed,
dark Netflix heroes that grin
before dashing into the night,
on Nutella-smeared toast,
reknitting the day and its splendors,
and everything that is logo hoodies.
At night, asleep under her netted bed,
I watch her long eyelashes,
and forget to breathe.