IN WHICH I COMPARE MY FATHER TO THE WOLVERINE FROG

 

in some field, my father pointed at the              —¿spectre of myself?      
devouring of a frog, and as it sank into
the pulping tongue its body began to break
not from the sawing of the animal’s teeth
but from its own bones fracturing
themselves, like scalpels erect under green,
tearing through and the inside of the maw.
¿is this what it feels like, papí, to
rub bleach on my face, dissolve
into digestible pink? 

the animal spat it out together with its blood,
and i instantly thought of my father’s outstretched
arm, brown and throbbing from the cancerous sun.
or of when he encroached into something
other than his own body, his mestizo eyes
crinkling against the bruising laughter of the white man.                
his bearded cheeks pulsating with the spanish red
pumping veins that reap his unpromised dirt.
in this self-harming frog, i saw the endurance
of being branded like a bull, husk barbed,       
breath trespassing a milk-eyed land.
¿after i crawled out of your skull,
was the skin on my side singed
black? remembering your
daughter is like forgetting about
fields malignant with metaphors.
and as i watched the baring of bone, i felt
my own fingertips pricking, and i knew that i could empty out
the viscera by digesting myself, ouroboros without the hawk’s
clawing. if i’m not white, then i’m not indigenous, then
i am not my father rearranging his organs to
accommodate his own blood.


THE WHITE ON THIS FLAG HAS SMEARED INTO RED

 

following a rechristened terrain,
a people end up at a river.
el verdugon,”  whispers ordain with
the crackling weariness of spanish, “el ejecutor persigue.
siempre hay que tener cuidado.

ahead, on the tensed surface,
fallen trunks jut out like broken bones under abused skin,
a thumb unaccepted by the useless body of america.
one people, their feet entwined into one root system
under the earth of the mexica,
meaning moon, meaning war god, meaning
witnessing foreign waters fill up lungs
and children consumed in the heat of the desert.
meaning, simply, tearing your bare feet off of the nurturing dirt.
and behind, a child-soldier holds
a red-green cloth draped around his body.
as he steps out into the rumbling sky, the
snake in his claws rattles with fear.


EL MONTE 

warning: a child wanders off and
expanding desert an engulfing of the shrinking gulf,

of tears of the cacti in the undulating heat, a lullaby is in the air
and the child’s feet sludge through the earth’s pus as seams

rupture and the ground convulses what is this life but a
parasite, an unthinking hive? callous as the gulping sun in its
 
groping of brown skin, mindless of species, mindless of
chromosomal borders, plants linger unto themselves lustfully,

this is an unthinking hive and it is a host of a child ¿creeping
forward like the reddening sky, what does the voice of its

mother sound like, panicked, edged with grief, edged with a
knowing loss? a distorted sensation forms in its belly so it eats

leaves, sometimes it cries tears of milk and something heaves
up to its throat to respond to the mother’s weeping ¿a child  

metamorphosing is a child, nonetheless? a thing perhaps and
with time the voice silences and it sheds its soft skin.


LUISANA CORTEZ: is a Mexican-American person, (she/her), that plans to study English at the University of Texas at Austin. Her works have been previously published in The Harpoon Review and Ghost City Review.

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