The dead wren
with its blueberry eyes dried and glassy with milk
poured the sun into your hair
like confetti for the newly fallen.
It unraveled its song and became undone
as if it couldn't figure out its own puzzle
in its moth
and gave up.
I want to say all of this is true
but we both know it isn't.
We already know what's at the other end.
We're headed back there now.
You undress me knot by knot
and beneath the layers of clothes,
there's just a pretty bow of me left--
sun-dried with glitter.
• • •
I want it to be easy.
The wren hangs from every branch
trying to put itself back together.
It opens and closes in my palm
like a widow looking for her husband's face there.
The song becoming
the bird becoming
• • •
But what I know of pleasure
I learned while putting my clothes back on.
I like to walk naked through the room
and pretend I am two lamps falling over.
Your voice has the sound
of feet trampling the floor,
each boot sinking into its footprint.
• • •
You are lifting me up and dropping me again.
You say, open your mouth,
so I do.
I am coming apart at the ends--
each side with its bundle of hair
inches closer to the knobby-headed flower
barely contained in its own reflection.
So we wrestle into an image smaller than memory
can hold in its old brown head.
• • •
No matter which way we turn,
it's always the same sound leaving us
as we rush to untangle
wherever it is we grow old at.
I am never the obedient one.
You are never the bride.
I say--feed me the bird--
so you do.
You say--open its beak--
but I can't.
MARCELO HERNANDEZ CASTILLO was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and is a Canto Mundo fellow, a Zell postgraduate fellow, and the first undocumented student to graduate from the University of Michigan’s MFA program. He’s a Pushcart nominee and has received fellowships to attend the Squaw Writer’s Workshop and the Vermont Studio Center. Recent work can be found in Jubilat, New England Review, The Paris American, and Drunken Boat.
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH