Back to Issue Eleven.




There, beyond the pastures
& what Matins were prayed,

a handful of mallards swim
towards the bottom lip

of the lake like mothers’
milk. In the almond fields

rabbits make a matinee
of their coupling. Love,

my brother says, is in the hare.
We pick apples & pears until

the day is capped with the slow
hum of dusk. When the two

of us row our boat home
we hope that, to the water,

the rough turbulence from
our oars is just a flyover state.

To arrive at our estate we hop
over gates & take it slow under

barbed wire. In the distance, not
too far, a bonfire & our mother

smoking by the tire swing. Dad
sings the Beach Boys with unchained

grief. As he runs my brother kicks
up leaves & apple blossoms, but I am

a monster tamed. There are things
I want to say to them, words that are

as mossed to my skin as race. But, I know,
from reading the moon, that it’s too

late. Maybe I’ll visit tomorrow. All
the papers say there’s little risk of rain.

J. Jerome Cruz lives and writes in Homer Glen, Illinois. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, New Delta Review, Cimarron Review, RHINO, and Booth.