Winter 2011

Table of Contents - Vol. VII, No. 4


Poetry    Fiction    Translations    Reviews   

Sergio Ortiz



Childhood Mirrors

Caught up in your white bruised face
at times I see myself through your eyes,
an Irish schoolboy in love with my darkness
and ask myself, when did washing dishes
change from privilege to chore? It felt so good
to be clambering on you I almost forgot
where I was.
Those were the days when I could get lost
in Chicago. Days I wanted to caress your head
without asking for permission. To touch you
and by so doing, force you to kiss me.
I wanted you to blush when I caught you staring
at me with those big brown eyes. To look down
at your hands and pretend to be playing with your fingers.
Now I knock before I enter your secret nightly reading,
hear the pages rustle from behind closed doors.
We’re all grown up. Then I realize all kinds of love
still intrigue us as we grow lighter, more rude,
more tender, and unafraid.



A Litany for Survival

To A.L.

An elephant walked into my living room
reciting a litany for survival 
She spoke about her brown mother
and sister having died too many deaths
that were not their own
She spoke about redemption
and a new religion
She spoke about winter people
taking off their blood masks
and monuments for the children of war
She spoke about hunger and blind feet
trying to find their way to the sun
She spoke about a greedy black unicorn
that was not free
She spoke about having two faces
and a frying pan to cook up her daughters
She spoke about two boys with stone eyes
making love in the hallway
they were lying like felled maple
and I couldn’t pass over them
Soon the hallway was covered
with these boys like beggars


© Sergio Ortiz


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