Back to Issue Thirty-Seven

/ in my eyes a stranger with light from many miles away /



when I find you    furtive as a   stone
your forehead to the ground
in the center of the yard
I want to ask      if this is praying

am I your stranger           I watch you
caught beneath the veil  of family legends
canvases  stowed  in a swollen wall
books dropped    like bruised pears    in the Caribbean

these last few days    you’ve done nothing but mourn
for a world      I could never see      become
a statue of mercy
at the bottom of a well

if only I could speak an elephant’s language
send   microtones
through the earth      instead
I will show you the palms
of my hands      hide my ear
in the small of your back

I’ll remember the days    we spoke
only   in metaphors      for burning grass
each night      a crack
in the moon’s
half orange

if only to be      a pillar of salt or
a    paper
aflame and      tumbling
into your face.

if only    a lesson in gentleness:
corn sprouting through the break
in an irradiated skull.



/ dream head with fields ablaze /



on the southwest side      of the hospital
where the hardtop    meets a field
the sun’s horse comes
swinging its machete  of light
over the  thrall of grass
like a mile long breath

I admit      watching you
traverse      the waking      dream
has been difficult

like a wooden altar
built in the stomach      of a wolf
you are a captive
heavy      with visions
hills of sugar    ripe with gunpowder
you wonder      how to find your own voice

today      you don’t even remember
who I am      to you
a soldier      a field
crossed at gunpoint
like the body  of a great snake

you see me    and cry out
me están matando

this land      of careful death
I will inherit      a mouth    full

of rich soil
stalks of   sugarcane breaking
against the nights’ back



Carlos Price-Sanchez is a Cuban-American writer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His chapbook, Paper Waters, was selected by judge Kaveh Akbar as the winner of the Quarterly West Chapbook Contest. His work has been published by Copper Canyon Press, The Journal, The Operating System, Sixth Finch, and Ophthalmology, among others. He is a former Penn Program in Environmental Humanities Fellow and will be attending the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers Conference this summer. Carlos is currently a postgraduate, pre-medical student at NYU.

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