subjunctivity – Editor’s Choice


here. i will be honest with you:

i am afraid of loving someone the same way my mother loved my father—

so much it ceased to be beautiful. so much it began to hurt.

she passed this on to me, you know.

i don’t think i’ll ever get over it.



what are these things that held my pulsing heart tender as they could?

nopal. maguey. a crown of thorns held like surrender.

my father’s love like needles.

my father’s love like a curse.



we met as children.

played footsie; touched delicately.

when i said so you denied it.

you denied it. you denied it.



god forgive me but i miss your tongue.

(i miss your hands i miss your walk i

miss the way you would just look at me

the way you made me feel—)



i am hoping that writing this out

will be akin to exorcism.



you say you saw me walk the church courtyard.

you say you see me everywhere.

was what you saw mirrored on your face?

how long did it take you to realize

yours was not a universal truth?



¿me recuerdas en tu cama? ¿me recuerdas sonriendo?

¿me recuerdas contigo queriendo estar queriendo?

¿me recuerdas con tu familia? ¿en tu casa? ¿en la sala?

¿qué te acuerdas de mí? ¿qué fue esto para ti?




to think i let you inside me this way.

this insidious way. this ungrateful way.

(why don’t you want me. why don’t

you want me. why don’t you want—)



i’d have stayed in your bed if you’d let me.



bodies never really forget.



i still think of the grind of our hips.

molcajete. tejolote. carve yourself into me like basalt.

did you see me?

you touched this skin, you kissed this mouth.

¿qué querías? what couldn’t i give you?



the next time he tries to raise a hand to you,

how will you react?

were the bruises a gift given to him first?

it seems almost a miracle, how one can play at survival.

it makes so much sense, how much you love your father.



you kept asking me to stay.



dios pero si tenía las palabras para decirte como te hubiera querido

si me habrías dejado. si tuviera las palabras para contarte esta historia.

pero no me quieres. no me quieres.



i don’t understand why i’m still thinking about this.