Category Archives: Freeverse

The Day Papi left Hispaniola

In matching sun dresses
covered in big pink Bayahibe roses
they walked hand in hand.

The little girl, she said, ‘Mami,
why does the cao fly away
when I run up to kiss him?”

Her mother sighed,
“he does not understand
— he is a bird.”

The little girl nodded, “yes, Mami
but I understand.”

There were no tears,
only the flutter of black feathers
into the blue sky.

As I burn away leaving me

  the cigarette won’t smoke itself under this almost-moon
so the man in the shadows stands
there holding the orange glow of burning 
that reports the streetlight to the darkness

the smoke reaches from the cigarette
toward the nearest star – the one
the man doesn’t notice as he stands
in the shadows. If there is a question
between them, it remains unasked.

the man continues to smoke
the cigarette until it is done 
the orange glow fades
until only the stars are burning
with questions for the moon.

What I know about Morocco

I know the capital is Rabat
and somewhere there is Casablanca

Other than that, I know nothing
except that some people there speak french.

I would ask someone,
but who is there to ask?

Even if they knew, why
would they tell me anything
about Morocco?

If they did know, I’m sure
they’d wonder, “Why
does he want to know about Morocco?”

I wouldn’t answer, they wouldn’t understand.
They wouldn’t understand
how I am broken, searching

for answers, and maybe
possibly (who knows)
some of them are in Morocco.

I’m afraid they’ll know
the truth — I am lost
and if there is any hope
it’s possible it’s in Morocco

I’m afraid they’ll know
I’m lying. I’m always lying —
I know I’ll never find myself
in Morocco.

(and that’s the real tragedy)

Minestrone

when the minestrone was gone
and the cough was the only testimony
i – being sad
watched her leave

hungry and hurting and sick

later, when she was feeling better
i could apologize
give her hot coffee
offer a laugh

but the soup was gone
when she needed soup
and my words were gone
when she needed hope
and she was gone
when i needed to say
i’m sorry

umbilical cord

some boys are born on thursdays
like me — premature and tiny

their mothers love them
because some boys are loved

even if the pain is overwhelming

other boys are born on otherdays
like someone not me — on time and fat

their mothers love them
because most boys are loved

even if the pain is overwhelming

the rest of the babies are girls
and they are born whenever they please
and they are small or large
and always loved by their daddy’s

either way, boy or girl
the pain grows greater every day
just like the love