Mike Soto


What I remember—getting tapped
on the shoulder, eyes like invitations
to edge the lake, her nakedness
like a moon to my fingertips,

on my tongue, a glowing I could taste. Doors
that opened to the pennies of a field,
getting chased by lightning,

waking with blackened fingernails.
From the footstep my body burned
into grass, I rose & remembered,

being told this is what you deserve,
a kiss that spiraled down a stairwell,
dripping in the dark.

That’s why Winter
never found me, why I keep a moth
in my wallet, & listen to branches
raking knots out of the wind’s hair.


A dead man desperate for a chance at life
finds the Devil’s grasp. On the graveled shoulder
of two roads that arrive into each other, their shoes

dig into a stalemate—they meet & discuss
nothing, but with paused language,
their eyes speak, bargain.

The wooden egg of an instrument case
gets stamped & sent out of the Devil’s office.
They unseal hands. Only the opposite

direction of their footsteps makes sound or sense.
The instrument takes a train to find itself
under the Mulberry where the man frets,

hearing its dome of leaves rattle
to the seeping wind. For days he steps in
& past the shade, one hand roofed

over his eyes. The other, looking out,
already playing the strings.
With a mind lit red like a moon and still

turning, he begins to see muted lights, wavering
horizons− a city so distant, he half-jokes,
it must be under water.


Mike Soto grew up in Dallas overhearing trains on the Santa Fe Railroad, and in a small town in Mexico, overhearing swallows. His chapbook, Beyond The Shadow’s Ink, was published by Jeanne Duval Editions and is available through his website: www.mikesoto.com