by Zachary Caballero
I am twenty-three and my heart feels the breeze
even in my sleep. I squeeze a blood-orange and
smell the perfume of citrus on my hands. Even my touch
grows braver the sweeter the songs I sing.
Like last Sunday, I set my body before the sun
lowered my mouth and saw the spring moonlight
pour out, like a melody, parody or parable.
My mouth is a house of blue solitude, wide-open sky,
you should see the trees that give me shade
and the guests who never stay.
I am twenty-three and my heart feels the breeze always.
When someone asks about the potholes in your heart
do not mention the bad days, the flat tire, the reckless speeding.
There are only good days and on good days
survival is the only the answer. I have so many questions
I do not want to ask. The weight of what I don’t know
lets me know plenty room is left to grow.
I don’t always want to finish what’s next.
Whatever happened to breakfast?
I slept through mornings because the cost of living
was not convincing.
I could not remember what waited for me.
I know lonesome does not deserve my love
but that conversation is such a hard thing to do.
I hear my gift with words is such a blessing.
I hear it’s not fair because you’re better with words
I say it isn’t so simple.
When you’re afraid of what the dark can do,
Language is the only room to run to.
Being good with what scares me most
is not a badge, but a casket of truths. Yes,
speech is a gift, but I never asked for a mouth,
for this matrimony of what I feel always coming back out,
never asked to love the significance that
always invites itself over and under my sheets,
but it belongs to me, is mine to sift through.
The pulchritude of an April afternoon tells me
it is too soon for anger.
I am twenty-three and my heart is caught in a breeze,
this poem is an invitation for you sway with me.
I am an architect of kindness and I require your spiritual congruity.
Take Agathist, derived from Greek, is a person who
believes all things reach toward an ultimate good.
Let that be me.
I have a history of inconsolability I do not want to repeat.
Rinse my mouth out with all the color I want to keep.
My mother leaves a voicemail I listen to while
I stir a pot of beans I made using my grandmother’s recipe.
Outside, the birds and the bees sing and sting,
I watch, stir and smell the steam, the weight of what
I do know can feed a family, can find meaning
even when my belly or heart is empty,
damaged by the translation of want and need,
even then, love is instructive,
even then, love is this scene, the one where I leave my house
and everyone is happy to see me.