Back to Issue Twenty-Seven.



Forgive me, Brother: I sinned. I laughed
        at the joke with the gay priest & the altar boy, missing

the punch-line: it’s 2018. People still think gay = pedo.
        In my old bedroom I lit incense sticks after fucking Abner

so you wouldn’t know. I played straight most of my high school
        years. When I think of Abner, I think

of that 90s Nickelodeon show which played in the background.
        My fist siphoned his blue

boxers until the cloth darkened. I tasted salt.
        At Sunday school, an older boy named Andy rocked

his hips furiously, walking. Behind him, boys shadowed
        the sway. Laughed. When he asked me if it was true

that Abner & I were lovers, I knuckled his face, bent
        cartilage, his snot smeared

on my fingers. I liked his face
        collapsed under my blow. I liked

the other boys’ cheering, behind us, their masculine claps
        convinced of the man I was, my red

hands unfolded & ready to praise God.


Genealogy, or the Only Poem I’ll Ever Write about My Father


This is one of seven lies. I grew to love
the absence. A month before I was born, my mother says,
a man came home to dig out the dead

maple tree in the backyard. Says when she was seven
the branch that held her in a swing snapped,
like her knee with the fall. I took

my shadow for a sibling for the longest time. I carried
the dead in my tonsils. One dull midnight

in August, absence

boiled my skin to purple
seeds: fevers high enough to stretch
horizons in my face. My grandmother pressed

cold eggshell against my body. I felt her
prayers shift the air, the candle’s burning
in the nightstand, & her rosary crackling

as she broke free the tainted
egg yolk into the glass. Mira,

she said, & I looked: the yellow membrane

spilling across clear gel, & on it, the red dot
of absence which I bore: my mother’s dead tree: loose
soil in the backyard: my father’s face looking back.

Aldo Amparán is a queer poet born & raised in the border cities of El Paso, TX, USA, & Ciudad Juárez, CHIH, MX. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Texas at El Paso. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from BOAAT, Cherry Tree, Gulf Coast, The Normal School, Poetry Northwest, & elsewhere. Find him online at or on Twitter @skygoneout.


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