poem index


Andrés Montoya

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Andrés Montoya was born on May 18, 1968. He received a BA from California State University–Fresno, where he cofounded the Chicano Writers and Artists Association, and an MFA from the University of Oregon. His first book, the iceworker sings and other poems (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 1999) received a Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in 1997 and a Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award in 2000. In 2017 Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe and Letras Latinas copublished the posthumous poetry collection a jury of trees, edited by Daniel Chacón. Montoya died from leukemia on May 26, 1999.

by this poet


the night swoons
               to the hip-hop
               of gunshots
               and stars.

a young woman’s teeth

about sorrow’s suitcase
of explanations

and i am learning to hope
               like a


there are the stars
and the sickle stare
of the moon

there are the frogs
dancing in the joy
of the ditch and the crickets
serenading everything

there are the trees
and the huge shadow
of the wind whispering
the old hymns of my childhood

and of course, there


tonight for a moment as the owl sleeps
i’m going to dust this city’s dirt from my clothes
the dry hot deaths that bring the strongest to their knees.
i’m going to run headlong through a rainstorm
dodging lightening blasts and hurdling rivers
as wolves howl on