Leslie Contreras Schwartz



This underworld
Of tangled dark hair,
Limbs, arms, reaching
Up through blackened
Soil to find its way
To its beloved.
This always the buried
Body of a woman,
Her black hair knotting
Into black fists
To crack the concrete,
The heavy foundation
Of a brick house.
Oh, that weight
As the family
Walks back and forth
Over her open body.
To crackle through walls,
Through the family’s bones,
Sleep, breath,
As they huddle at night
In smothered dreams
That remember her
In the night.
Even the baby
Remembers her
In his crib, his tiny
Sigh breaking open
This cenote in the
Uncurling of his fist.
Give into it, dear
Child, my child.
Crack in the wall
On the ceiling,
The rocking chair snaps,
A small neck or wing
Breaking. Turn
Against the bars
Of your bed,
Those rails held up
To keep you
From falling
Back into
All those roads
That have been
Poured over her body,
The years of bayou,
Swamp, all its heavy
Black map, those
Blood lines, bloodied.
Mouths, weeping through
The dank womb of the world
Its Mother-tongue,
Mayim of this world,
Always seeking to
Find you again,
You, in your foot-pajamas
Dressed of frozen stars.


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