Broken crimson
Mercedes sedan.

Cotton-wood, milk-weed.
The taste of cold metal

and the repetition of three AM
sirening ambulance rides.

Yellow cream, three-tiered
birthday cake.

Cherry lip balm.

Pale blue satin shorts
and matching jacket

with my name embroidered
in hot pink, Cindy.

Poochie, my childhood
beagle, whimpering inside
the locked rooms

of night. A field of black and white
dappled ponies. Blinding,
the silence.

An orange plastic
lighter, and red
gas station

of kerosene.

Copyright © 2022 by Cynthia Cruz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 9, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

Mother’s crimson leather bags
Crammed with saint cards
And tiny glass bottles of liquor.

The bright stitch
Of God’s final coming.

Dirt and dregs, silt and stars.

The sweet song
Of poverty

Rinsing through me
Like the memory
Of a dream.

Copyright © 2015 by Cynthia Cruz. Used with permission of the author.