Imagined Letter to My Father from His Father
Abandoned by your mother, you wander.
I’ll follow you, a ghost inside your own
reflection. I’ll save the suns that settle
inside my bodies: water, glass,
every surface that holds warmth.
Lap each river with your clumsy
tongue. You won’t forget
you came from Mexico, even when
my face sets inside your memories
like the words of my language
you almost learned, everything
hidden behind your pupils, nights
you’ll carry the rest of your life.
come from uncertain and ignite,
it means whenever you say it
your voice will illuminate
the night. You won’t know
how or when you cross the border,
but just howl your name—
others will find you. And still,
others will spend your life
calling you coyote, predator,
chase you from chicken coops
with a shotgun. And sometimes,
they will leave you with an exit
wound. And when they do,
remember your tongue
heals you, fights infection,
speeds the clot, the salt
of your ancestors rushing,
becoming scabs on your skin.
After Joseph O. Legaspi
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