Where Memories Once Towered Like Infernos

I remember tasting the tobacco shored
in your lungs,
and you had the courage to tell me
my auburn hair smells of a bonfire.

I once vowed a dress I wore
would forever smell of rain
and my ink-stained fingertips
would fidget, restless with memories,
but now when I cradle myself to sleep,
my eyes are empty.

I no longer name the silhouettes
that landscape my bare walls
or dance along my broken skeleton bones.

I remember when my brittle skin
smelled like my favorite library,
but no one picks up an abandoned tome
when the ink that traverses the ivory pages
is nothing more than a smudge and ashy dots.

I am an empty teacup in a house
that is haunted with your name.
When I reread the letters you wrote me,
shards of glass glitter along voids of thought,
threatening to lacerate the emptiness.
Puncture the silence where memories
once towered like infernos.


Even skyscrapers crumble.
My skin is a cleverly crafted disguise,
hiding from you
all that I am and all that I am not.

The steel beams are just like bone,
and the drywall is my skin.
Even skyscrapers crumble.

I am broken, shattered.
I have been split open like a mouth,
full of broken teeth,
rotting from the inside.

You smell the decay on me,
but even skyscrapers crumble.
I’ve struggled with vulnerability.
This strength I wear is a disguise.
Everything I am comes from
everything I am not.
Even skyscrapers crumble.

A King’s Feast

Etch your name into my clavicle.
Carve the letters so deeply they burn
into the bleached white bones
(so that when archeologists discover my fleshless corpse,
they will know I was once yours)

Watch me.

I’ll stand straight as the arrow you slice through my spine.
I won’t cringe at the pain because after a while,
you don’t feel it anymore.

(She who shrieks does not know-
pain is the price of love.)

We all make reckless decisions
when we were young.
We put down layers of ink
to cover the sins of yesterday.
(The holes you puncture
warn enemies
that I am whole.)

What shattered me limps past,
slain but fight in its eyes.
I will someday, gouge the eyes
and eat your lungs like a king’s feast.


“To call this an artifact would infuse it with meaning,” the museum curator brooded, “and it is a simple, forgotten object.” He studied the item: nondescript, characterless, bland. He glanced up at the young woman, offering her a striking smile. “This is just the type of thing we love to see here.”

She glanced around her, her hazel eyes flashing. “What exactly is this place?”

“Oh, I thought you knew.” He riffled through some papers on his desk, avoiding her gaze. Finally, after some time, he asked, “What brings you here to me?”

The young woman glided across the dusty hardwood floor. She studied each object with curiosity: a bicycle with its seat missing, a half-finished painting, a sculpture made of burnt-out light bulbs, splintered musical instruments burned and smashed-in, and broken typewriters. From the cracks in the floor sprouted tiny, green buds. Hastily scribbled notes hung on wires spiraled in the center of the room.

She did not speak, yet marveled at the strange sights before her.

“Welcome to the museum of forsaken things. We are among the forgotten,” the curator spoke in a hushed tone and when she turned to face him, it was only then she realized.

She too was abandoned past recollection.

The sailor docked his old boat where the water forked, revealing a sandy trail.

This was the spot the myths had described. He didn’t care that his trousers were getting muddy nor did it seem to affect him as he descended deeper and deeper into the dark waters. He could have held his breath for a million years.

His lantern illuminated less and less space, but he marveled as prehistoric fish swam past him. The sailor turned the corner, and the mouth of the cave stared at him.

This was it. The Gallery of Neglected Things.

The glimmering turquoise of abalone and iridescent opal bedazzled the grotto. As he entered, his breath caught in his throat.

-From The story, “La Estatua del Mar”, published in Unity: a Magical Realism Anthology