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About this poet

Rodney Gomez is the author of Ceremony of Sand, forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2019, and Citizens of the Mausoleum (Sundress Publications, 2018), as well as several chapbooks. He’s the winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize, the Gloria E. Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, and the Rane Arroyo Chapbook Prize. A member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop and the Chocholichex writing collective, he serves as an editor at Latino Book Review and works at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

A Short Tablature of Loss

A funeral home before the funeral.
                       The ghosts it despises.

           Evaporated holy water.
Messiah of satin roses.

                                  The prayer before it becomes a prayer:
in the throat, the machine for lamenting.

*

                       Musk of kindling after fire.
           Char, as in: these hands are reaching,
but all they can grasp is air.

                                  The road the hearse used to carry the body
to the wormhole.

                       A sling carrying a body with broken clocks.
           Taproot.

*

My mother in her mainframe, captive
                      to pumps, pipes, irrigation tubes.

The spotlessness of her gown,
                                  immaculate hem of nurses’ smocks.

                      Wasping of night hours invading morning,
                                  spreading tick-tock like spilled salt.

           The way they pulled the needles off, as if freeing
a smoker’s lung from its escutcheon.

*

                                  My grandmother in her wheelchair
           at Good Samaritan Nursing Home, rubbing
                                  a rosary into dust, and flecks of gold leaf

 

on her lap, and the way she would stare

                      at a space in the wall as if God was speaking
                                  in that language.

Hurricane calm. Before the posts prayed.

           Coven of whistling thorns.

After the relocation of water: blessing and blessed.

*

           Coming home to that shack on Calle Tulipan.

                                  How the lawn had yellowed as phlegm.

                      How the blocks under the house had worried themselves loose.

           My father, who'd lost his leg in Korea, sprinting
along the fields to save our grapefruit from frost

                      and in his speed two spinnerets playing pat-a-cake.

*

The mark of the poor: tentativeness.

*

           A body crimpled into cassocks. The sunflower field
where it was abandoned, and the moon in its resignation.

                                  The dream of all hunters: to justify an absence
                      that requires sacrifice of innocent things.

Pulling petals from a dayflower to form a fence.

                                  Smoothing a rock to make a false eye.

           As if creating the missing of things
                                  could cure the loss of some others.

Copyright © 2018 by Rodney Gomez. This poem originally appeared in Citizens of the Mausoleum (Sundress Publications, 2018). Used with permission of the author.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Rodney Gomez. This poem originally appeared in Citizens of the Mausoleum (Sundress Publications, 2018). Used with permission of the author.

 

Rodney Gomez

Rodney Gomez

Rodney Gomez is the author of Ceremony of Sand, forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2019, and Citizens of the Mausoleum (Sundress Publications, 2018), as well as several chapbooks. He’s the winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize, the Gloria E. Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, and the Rane Arroyo Chapbook Prize. A member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop and the Chocholichex writing collective, he serves as an editor at Latino Book Review and works at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

by this poet

poem

     “Snow where the horse impresses itself / is solitude, a gallop of grief.” —Miguel Hernández

What use is a language
that lacks a name for hazard?

When wheat brays in an alley.

Where do you go
if you aren’t born
an adoration?

If you start the book
of brutality
you

poem

I've never given birth.

Please forgive me
for mistaking
long walks
for children.

I find soldiers, rattles,
teething rings.

I wear bonnets
on rainy days

when river mud
is indistinguishable
from water.

If I drown unexpectedly
send bibs
in lieu

poem

My mother used to say the heart makes music, but I've never found the keys. Maybe it's the way I was brought into the world: dragged across a river in the night's quiet breathing, trampling through trash and tired runaways as if tearing a window's curtains. We were barred from entry but repeatedly returned, each