A dog I love growls
at the sight of me,

can no longer bear
his diablos, crazed

with the here, there,
how, all around him

the air howling. I sense
temptation to dive

into the void—glint
of his coat, hint

of a yelp a blade
to the throat.

Unclench, I say;
look: your ghost

father swims
in your ghost mother,

opens his snout
in your direction,

the sound reaching you,
soothes your sleep,

puts out the blaze
in your head,

is a quilt wrapped
around you, unfurls

down the path you tread,
or flaps in the wind

while you feed, keeps
you company, though

your spirit
is still a fuse—

From After Rubén (Red Hen Press, 2020) by Francisco Aragón. Copyright © 2020 by Francisco Aragón. Used with permission of The Permissions Company LLC on behalf of Red Hen Press,