there was a house at the bottom of a mountain
sunbaked mud and straw and as tiny as a heart
with ¼ the rooms and in that cavity a woman gave birth
to blood and vomit every year
for thirteen years and sometimes her husband came home at night
but mostly he hunted gold buried along the road to Santa Fe
if he ever found it she would never know
he guzzled all gold and Taos Lightning
as the children went without some survived some didn’t
one boy drowned in the washtub and one twin died at birth
one son clutched a yowling cat to his chest
in a hammock on the ocean floor while torpedoes
pounded the sub like shots of mezcal on the guard rails in the canyon
where the world split open again at the hip
and another son drove her home and another turned her
on her side so she could breathe easier
the living twin closed her eyes and somewhere in Arizona,
another daughter fell to her knees and cried at the kitchen stove
a week later, another son bailed him out of jail
and thirty years later, a niece and a nephew visited him
at the house made of earth and his mother’s blood,
and stray cats played in the orchard.
Copyright © 2022 by Victoriano Cárdenas. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 30, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
Mist snakes the mountains,
The moon waxes and wanes.
sometimes never come,
sometimes never go.
Dry soil softens
between my lips. My mouth deepens
into a well filled with roots.
^^ ^ ^^
Call it a life, this cloak intended for our backs.
If this happened to us or long ago
or is someday going to happen
I cannot say.
I drink tea brewed from last summer’s flowers.
in the pot before pouring.
The ditch fat with runoff,
icing my hands into hooks.
On the dunes,
every step shifts the surface.
All this reaching for a resting place
we likely passed years ago.
We sink a little even as we climb.
Another thread unwinds.
All my reparations
made in darkness,
in the space in my chest
before the candles are lit.
There by the creek there is ice
and beneath ice, ripples,
then three mule deer
bending their heads to drink.
Copyright © 2022 by Kyce Bello. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 4, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.