Two Poems

Poetry / Alfredo Aguilar

while walking among the reeds

          you see a part of your life on the opposite
side of a river. you don’t know when it found

          its way outside of you. like when one
of the many smaller nesting lives inside vanishes

          & you know you’ll never find it again, but are at ease
with the fact. you say to yourself that was then.

          you don’t think about crossing the river. you know
the current is strong enough to pummel you.

          the past is like that. instead, for a moment, you look
for the people there & they can’t see or hear

          you of course, but you can see the fireflies
dancing. you can hear the song the people

          are singing. & it’s only until the near end of the song
that you notice you were mouthing every word.

i could have been a child still waiting

for my parents to return.

a child who knows the embrace

of their parents best when wrapping

their small tongue around

their names. who has a photograph

they can point to & say

there, there is my mami. whose guilt

masks itself as hunger

for all the bodies that were swung

into the clouds. who says once, i gave

the night all of my tears & I have not seen

my mother since. who never learns

to stop looking up into an echoless

sky expecting an answer.

Alfredo Aguilar is the son of Mexican immigrants. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Vinyl, Winter Tangerine, The Acentos Review, & elsewhere. He lives in North County San Diego.