Afro Latinx Poetry – Maria Fernanda

Maria Fernanda


Two Birthdays
For Cheryl Boyce-Taylor

You could fry eggs on it, pull
blades of grass together for sitting,
and eat, if you had the chickens.
No one can remember which holiday
it was, but everyone knows on which
road, steaming and gravel-packed, Liseth
tried to return home from. Sweat roved
her burnt cheek like a vagrant. Under
the medic’s hand-light, her eyes rose,
no different from two kites, unscathed
after a storm. Liseth sat in the passenger
seat before the accident with her hands
closed, her knuckles pointing in her lap
the way grown hands are buried
or burned. Her view was brimful of sky
and memory, stressed by her mother’s
words, Even if in pieces, mi hijita,
there is pleasure in returning to the earth
you came from. Liseth didn’t realize
how this road knew her family’s blood
over and over and now too. As if foaling,
the bus this time laid on its side. Glass
scattered itself across flesh and crushed
seats. Vinyl wedged under Liseth’s
fingernails as she gripped the bus floor
for friction. In kithless breaths she spoke
000000000000000000 Wild a.m. glow
caught in her eyelashes. Somewhere
in the apricot void she heard, Who
is going to close her eyes? Steel clinked,
to which she spat on her hands and ran
her fingers along her eyelashes to see.
The medics lifted from Liseth, her
daughters’ twin bodies, each
of a dark sand. No one knows either
baby now, but no one forgets
how Liseth beat the glass for them.

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