Javier Zamora

From the selection of poetry curated by Eduardo C. Corral

Ever since a brown girl wanted fifteen thousand from me
to marry her, I’ve vowed to not sign documents
to get a visa, then ask myself why
I’ve let that hurt me so much to never buy rings.

Amor, tell me to shut up, tell me none of that matters,
come watch the tide drain south
to where the house I left is lined with glass and barbwire.

When I call abuelos, they say
¡Ay no mijo! Someone else is dead. Then,
they ask about you. I’m four years older than them
when they got married, six years older
than my parents, always they ask if I’ll visit,

I say soon Abuelos, soon. What I mean is
I can never go back. They don’t understand
I can only return if I get married.

Amor, know more than I love you,
quite possibly I love that bay at low tide,
even possibly, mangrove roots with bright orange crabs.

But what if I wish to sit still next to you
every morning and tell you what I really mean
when I say I can never go back
is that I know that country no longer exists,

not those brown waves, not those bright orange crabs,
but when I wake up in your arms,
we make the only country we can truly return to,

where we dive head first to know
what it’s like to swim in the middle of love
and see each gull flee like clothes
bouncing off the wall to the carpet
we must pick clean like a beach, after hurricanes.