[Magic needed]

Magic needed. A letter to Lorca. Outer space martians to help me translate. A letter I write and sign by Lorca to introduce my poems. Love poems to the beloved. Lorca or Gloria or Jack Spicer needed in the absence of a beloved. Someone who understands María Sabina’s wisdom. A chachalaca as a pet.A glass of water for the dead, to help in their journey crossing. The dead and the not-yet. Sometimes I think I only have water to offer. Dark ruby tunas needed, easy to cut from the tops of cactus paddles. Life offers its appendages. Trim the drooping tree limbs before hurricane season, before we mourn their violent losses. But white-winged doves have their nests in the branches. Nighthawks visit. Bats. Bats keep flitting through the neighborhood. Once, I was attacked by a snake and a bat, my beloved totems. Real visceral pain in my thigh and neck woke me up like seeing the agent reach for his gun. It’s still there in his hand, in his holster, keeps rising like the walls that put me to a deep sleep, a sleep that needs The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes to wake and find Sappho’s golden chickpeas growing again along the riverbanks.

From With the River on our Face (University of Arizona Press, 2016). Copyright © 2016 by Emmy Pérez. Used with the permission of University of Arizona Press.