Allen Forrest © 2017 All Rights Reserved

I Want to Be


*
I want to be a burn, scorch a throat
lift the tongue in praise,
flame preaching in the mouth.
Worship me as I ascend. Can you love wildfire?

*
I am always an ocean, jellyfish jaw-clamped,
fish knotted-in-schools at the throat.
Whales curl into my folds and horse fish hide
in my tousled strands. Some days, I fillet
my feet to let the salt out.

*
I will never be pine. The soil disgusts me,
mocks my bone. I punish dandelions with a blow
for every falling leaf. For this, the wood cackles,
carves my name into its bark.

*
I want to brand somewhere youíll never forget.
Body, I promise you
I can change.


* * *

Passing


My mother
passes her shame

her shame
like a sure-footed man

my shame
a sure-footed man

convinces me
yellow can pass
for blue

convinces me
I am griefís bone
dug-up

quaking.

My motherís shame
is a bruise
deepening
on an infantís arm

My shame
is a cracked
coconut, its milk
unable to wet
a thirsty mouth

Her backís been broken
my backís been broken

halved spines
begging

donít make
mistakes

same ones
she makes

mistakes

same ones
sitting like
passed china

haunting
cabinetís corner
til a woman blows dust

off a teacup
set on a chipped saucer

before a daughter.



Ysabel Y. Gonzalez
Copyright © 2017  

New Jersey native Ysabel Y. Gonzalez received her BA from Rutgers University and MFA from Drew University. Ysabel has attended VONA, Tin House, and BOAAT workshops. Sheís a CantoMundo fellow, and is published in Vinyl, Wide Shore, Waxwing Literary Journal, and others. You can read more about her work at www.ysabelgonzalez.com.


Table of Contents            Next Poem            Guidelines