“Driving into the Body of the Storm” by Mario Duarte

Only a solitary black cricket somewhere on the rear car floor complains about the suddenly and startling cool twilight. One left starless and moonless by seemingly innumerable clouds.

Candelaria, once you struck a match against a brick wall then threw your empty, green wine bottle into the sand dunes. While you brushed your long, dark hair, you recited your life story.

Ignoring my fears, with my hair on end, I was driving through the brute, blue body of the storm that descend over the miles of flailing cornfields, blotting out the sky and strip of highway.

As a three-legged fly crawls over the dash, dragging his barely attached dangling leg behind him everything shifts from gray to black. I scoop him up and toss him out the rainy window.

Where have you gone Candelaria? All you have left me are intangible memories and Apollo, a vicious, black Labrador Retriever, who loves to bite anything that approaches his snout.

Candelaria, you once shot pool with your eyes half-closed and wore a red, satin halter top, with sunglasses on your forehead, and sweat alive with delicate, glimmering globules of time.

Mario Duarte is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of New Hampshire. He is also a member of the Latino Writers Collective based in Kansas City. He has published poems in the American Poetry Review, Broken Plate, languageandculture, Marco Polo, and Slab, among others, and has poetry and fiction forthcoming in Palabra and Dicho.