three sisters and a cow

Three sisters buried a cow in their graveyard. The cow had grown ill and miserable, heightening the family’s misfortune as the last of their animals prepared to depart.

The first sister stroked the cow’s neck every night, in hopes that the muscles would feel loose and the cow would look up to life instead of down to death.

The second sister travelled far every dawn, to the clearest and greenest of meadows, collecting the best grass in the land. If the cow ate well, she prayed, it would remember life on earth as a pleasant one, and would make an effort to stay.

The third sister remained in the kitchen all day, cleaning pots and sharpening knives.

“All cows are meat,” she would hum to herself as the water boiled, “one down, two to go.”

the myth of dying suns

When very old and very warm, the wizened sun will walk to the edge of space, where hungry black holes await,and wet his blazing toes on the deepest pool in all of the milky way.

The black holes will sing a song of death, a hymn of doom to descend silence on all fears of dying slowly and forgotten.

You’ve lived well
and you’ve lived long,
though now forsaken you’ve spent your time on the shores of Venus, comforting Mars, the Earth will thank you without the need of a shrine.

The sun sleeps.

urgent mail

I want to lift up my prayers in little navy clouds. I want to tie ribbons and balloons so they fly up high, higher, highest. I want to knock on all the houses, press a pen against their hands, and encourage them to write their petitions down. It’s okay, I’ll guarantee, I’ll send them on their way for you. I want to fill bags and bags with these, until the weight is so overwhelming it bends my back and makes my knees tremble. I want to take the weight upon me and load it on each messenger cloud.

I once stepped onto a dream where this was true.

It concluded with rain.

The day we killed the hippopotamus

It takes the death of an innocent, a vulnerable, an exposed, to shake a nation’s sensibilities. The canon ball that sparks indignation, wails demanding justice.

There is something about the deliberate, cruel murder of an animal that seems to indicate humanity has truly evaporated.

Husband asphyxiating wife, mother drowning child, father raping daughter, friend shooting friend, enemy dismembering enemy. Fourteen lives slaughtered daily, selected with the same carefree attitude one chooses tomatoes at the supermarket. We are not shaken. Our filth has trickled so far down the gutter we no longer bother to clean it. Occasionally, a child. Still untouched, still unmarked by the deranged spark that seems to categorize us. The crouching demon with the spidery legs has not sat on their right shoulder yet.

It takes an animal. The antithesis of human.

It takes an animal. The one deemed brainless. The one deemed soulless.

It takes an animal to remind us we are worse than rabid animals.

It takes an animal to remind us we are an infection, and we are spreading, and we are contaminating, and we are oozing pus, leaving a trail of gangrene.

Our labels for humanity are all askew.


Read all about the murder of Gustavito, a hippopotamus living in El Salvador’s national zoo. (Links en Español)

An Ode to My Colonizer(s)

The crime was not abortion.
You forcefully ask to keep us, an exotic menagerie,
our skins more colorful than your bruises.
You expect us to be grateful,
to thank you for your benevolence.
Fireworks for passing humanity.
It was a difficult birth,
your legs, squeezed tight throughout labor
almost accomplishing suffocation.
Perhaps it was never abortion,
just a prayer for infanticide.
Be we slithered out, covered in blood, covered in you,
knowing that once cleansed, the umbilical cord severed, we’d find
what a wretched caretaker you were,
dropping us on our head at the first sign of autonomy,
malnourished, naked, mute, and nearly washed out by the elements.
It was not abortion.
It was not infanticide.
All along it was assisted suicide.
But let’s be civil, shall we?
After all, isn’t that your parting gift?
civility cloaked in inflation, civility cloaked in poverty, exploitation, false freedom,
a reassurance that we should wish to be
you
but never
You.
If it’s not you then where do we seek us?
Did you not steal that too?

N. Saravia

A poetic response to Frantz Fanon’s “On Violence” from The Wretched of the Earth

mute

There are many things I should not tell you. They’re trapped, these things, between the mattress and the wall, underneath the sink, molding in the fridge.

There are many things I want to tell you. They’re out in the open, these things, on top of the night table, next to the sticky notes that are always blank, next to the toilet paper, soggy from the shower.

There are many things you take and forget. You hear them, these things, and I see you mouth them back at me in cruel remarks, jokes that make no one else in the room laugh. Have you noticed? It’s just the two of us now. Left.

There are many, many, things: trivial, crucial, elemental, monumental, revolutionary, prophetic, catastrophic. I cannot call them things. They clutter the ceiling, and the backyard, and the garage.

Place them inside my left eyelid at closing time. Swallow them like you’ve swallowed the entirety of everything.

I venture in the sun. The sand, it seeps into my clothed feet, trapped next to my thumb.

There is no breeze, just the torment of shifting particles, an illusion to my physical demands.

Yesterday I crawled next to a weeping dune, I slept until my eyelids burned and I could drink my tears. I was sure to die, I sure hoped to die.

I walk today, as yesterday, and the land only expands. My name returns to me in drops and mist; I want to swallow all.

Three wishes: 1) Stop; 2) Return; 3) Repeat

monsters

There is a monster in Daniel’s house. But you cannot see it. Even if you try, even if you beg. It will not show itself. Not out of shyness, not out of mischief. Out of complacent rage: it has already won.

Daniel does not need to see the monster to know it lurks, sits, stands. Does not need to see the sunken eyes or broken jaw, does not need to meet it in the bathroom mirror when everyone sleeps. The monster does not need to crawl behind him when he dashes up the stairs. It will not frighten the dogs into midnight barking.

No, it’s not a monster in visions and bloodied walls, in moving chairs and misplaced bodiless moans.

The monster comes in the violent whims of broken communication, in the rage fits and the rising spleen; the altered humor and laughing tongue, the taste of murder toward someone that must be loved out of social obligation.

It comes in clenched lips, screams, and accusations. It comes in headaches, vomits, and dismembered bodies when Daniel goes to sleep.

It’s a murmur in Daniel’s lungs, nestled next to the quick-pumping artery. It’s a weight on Daniel’s left shoulder, straining his neck enough to blaze his already flaking mood. Like snow. Snow that falls on aching, sneeze-driven bodies.

Will he someday fear the monster that walks on four legs, that jumps on the roof and sticks to the wall, that throws ash in his food and sulfur in his family’s breath? Daniel does not fear its claws which bare bits of skin hanging from the tips, skin taken from his scalp; no cease to the itch.

Daniel does not fear its voice, a mixture of the entities inside hollow organs, how it can quickly imitate love, care, tenderness, only to transform into spiders walking on faces. Daniel does not need to fear its monstrous appearance to fear all that it is. Daniel does not need a nightmare when it lurks outside his eyes, with lullabies in dirty pillows and foreign stares in unpolished glass.

He does not fear it, it happens naturally.

In memoir

If you could mummify my body, what parts would you scrape out first?
My brain to keep my memories?
My hands to ensure all talent is stunted?
My feet so I may never travel in the afterlife?
My heart to shut out all regrets?
My lungs to ensure all sighs end?
You.
You I wouldn’t mummify. Wouldn’t wrap up for preservation. I’d burn you in the pyre to ensure all of earth eventually breathes a part of you.