The Sea Is Farther Than Thought
In church, the boys have so much
light, plants grow towards them.
My aunt handed me an organdy
fan and said: Hold this if you’re frightened
or want to lose yourself—the devil
can dance like a goddamn dream.
There are three things on earth
to point to: the sun, the moon, and
the television. I can locate one of these.
My brother walked into a garage
with a needle taped to a battery
and emerged with his stomach
tattooed. I don’t think I’ll touch a face
like that again. Across the street, wetbacks
sleep five to a room and sweep
and water their dirt, while children send
canoes without oars down the Hudson.
Let me explain western expansion:
Snow unfolded over a wagon train
of nine and nothing without wings survived.
The sea is farther than thought. He answered
the door holding a rag to his neck
and we kissed on the service porch
near a pitbull that’d just won a fight.
Sometimes my father whittles
for my mother in front of a bonfire, the vein
searching his thigh, luminescent. To be
honest, I called because there was snow
in my glove, not because I miss you.
If the original tunnel of the body
is the mouth, I’ve never had one.
As a girl I kept suede horses
and a hairbrush inside a blonde toy-box.
One day my face will refuse to turn away.
Some people like poison.
I kneeled every time I opened it.
“The Sea Is Farther Than Thought” was first published in Indiana Review, Latino & Latina Writers Issue, Summer 2006.