—Lynchburg, Va (2019)
If I say I miss Bakersfield too much, it loses its edge.
I’ll say, instead, I miss heat when it snows in Lynchburg.
I’ll radiate, like steel vibrating, under this home
pretend every noise is my mother hushing me to sleep.
Seventh Street rumbles with a flood, a harm of water
rushing down a hill, down to drown out sorrow and doubt
cupped in the hand, a grief swallowed, holy, so goddamn holy
if I prayed harder, God would turn this clarity
into blood-soaked truth.
If I say I miss my Papa, it loses its edge and makes the wound deeper.
If I say being so far away from home hurts,
I lose my edge and we can’t have that.
Wind, so much fucking wind, lifts the shingles, jingles the chimes
reminds me this chill in my bone is from terror and not the cold
or brown boy survives another day in a marble city, named
after its own form of punishment, come reside in the trench of history
bite down and forget everything else.
If I say this hollow body needs, does that make any sense.
If I purr like my cats for affection, does any broken thing mend?
~ Mateo Lara
Mateo Perez Lara is queer latinx, originally from Bakersfield, California. He received his B.A. in English at CSU Bakersfield. He is currently working on his M.F.A. in Poetry at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA. His poems have been featured in Emerson Review, EOAGH. He is an editor for RabidOak online literary journal & Zoetic Press.