Three Poems by Mario Duarte

Three Stanzas for Luis J. Rodriguez

I. ¡Qué Viva La Raza!

On the window sill, the goldfish plant blossoms swim in orange relief. Their minty green leaves calm that evil serpent, the mind, and flow beyond the waves of sunlight. They hear the immigrant’s son say, “Is this not my country?” “No,” their small voices answer. “There will never be a place for you on this earth.”

II. ¡Aqui Estoy!

Fingers and toes, arms and legs, fight loneliness, but realize this dear old sausages love floats out of our lips on the white sail of rapidly expelled words. They carry the heaviest cargo loads in their hulls but nothing calms the earthquake generated tsunami they must face, for nothing of what we are can ever survive love.

III. Change is a mother!

I was always a skinny, little dude—eating my dreams. I explored continents of the imagination, shouldering a stick-gun, treading the tall weeds along the Hennepin canal, other days I was an astronaut dangling like a spider hanging by a web in the deep black of space. Even today, if you touch my shoulder blades I will flinch into light.

101 Degrees

Here in Durham, North Carolina the sweat cascade from my forehead stinging my eyes, and the scratch you left on my cheek stings—the hour bobs in the yellow sea inside me.

Heat waves ripple the leaves dangling from the trees, like snakes dropping, until the faceless sky rips apart and the red rain explodes splashing even the dust into bloody droplets.

I hold my hands up to the red rain. Let its density migrate down my palms. Skeleton-white lightning zigzags from blue-black clouds, until they churn with your blue eyes.

Locked Trunk to Trunk

Once we were elephants locking trunks. We thought it would always be this way. Even today I bought you a Birthday card—two squirrels face each other, holding a nut between them.

Last night, a spider hung from a web. It dangled against the backdrop of night like an astronaut space walking—only a thin white line shot from her abdomen suspended her fate.

Later, when I returned, her web was complete: a net to catch everything from the tiniest, virtually invisible insects to your face trapped in the sticky lines, your fingers ripping the web apart.

Mario Duarte lives in Iowa City, Iowa and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Recently, he has recently published poems in the Acentos Review, Broken Plate, Huizache, Shadowbox, and Slab, and has work forthcoming in Dicho and Passages North.