Back to Issue Seventeen.

At the movies



Run. The earthquake
trapped in my skull

has cracked bone, & I’ve been stuck
inside Wall #4, watching

roaches big as babies
sticking their legs

in the sink, still cars
as I speed by on the highway.

I’ve found my bones
in the lake in my old neighborhood,

my ribs like hands
reaching to test the surface,

leaves like empty gondolas,
drowning when full.

All of the seats are taken.
Even the ghosts have to look

over each other’s shoulder
to see the atom bomb

that’ll never blow
because everyone secretly

loves the taste of wind—
& at least gasoline

tastes like it smells, is not
deceptive like the mirrors

too slow to catch a man so ancient
he doesn’t need to drink water.

I reach my hand in the lake
& pull out my hand,

all bone but alive,
shaking the one attached to me

like it were the fat end
of a man stretched by steaks

& cocktails. I pull the hand
& the rest of me rises

from the water, perfectly put-
together like the found fossils

of a dinosaur whose teeth sell tickets
to toddlers. But I’m alone

with me, & both of us want to switch
skins like color-coated plastic surgeons.

But then he falls apart,
shattering like a light bulb against

the concrete, leaving only his hand,
floating over him, gripping mine

like the hand of a child
that needs to be disciplined in public.


Daniel Ruiz was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, and now lives in Florida. His poems can or will be found in The Journal, minnesota review, New Delta Review, and elsewhere. He is a 2015-2016 Fulbright Fellow to Chile.

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