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Michael Luis Medrano

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Michael Luis Medrano was born and raised in Fresno, California. He received an MFA from the University of Minnesota. Medrano is the author of Born in the Cavity of Sunsets (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2009). He hosts Pakateles, a literary radio show, and lives in Fresno, California.

by this poet


            for father and son

Jesús José Medrano went away
no more motel rooms to clean
he asked my dad to take his place

when Dad cried and looked the other way
the mortician closed the coffin on the body
Jesús José Medrano went away

He wore his best gray suit that


A Minnesota poet
who writes in a plethora of ice
asks me what the shape
of a poem written in the hot dust
of the valley would look
and sound like. I tell him
it is all dust, even in the city
outside my ear—
my bedroom window rattling
when gunshots pop, when the cops


Tonight I have not the backbone
nor the breath
to ask what it was like to live,
I mean really live
inside that cavity of muscle and concrete
carving out your days.

I could not even begin
to stomach the anxiety of a jailhouse minute,
of being locked in a cell-block