The Boiler

Alfredo Aguilar

I WOKE UP IN THE DESERT

& could not tell what time it was. i walked
beside you in the dark & you became

a white owl. you flew onto a mesquite branch, turned
your head, opened your small noble beak,

looked into me, & flew away. i picked up

a fallen feather & let it dangle from my ear. i ate

a cactus fruit, spat out a thimble of silver. the saguaro

told me you can learn to live on the smallest giving—

to hold a palm full of water & make it last a season.

i looked up & the clouds on the moon shivered.

i spoke with a coyote. he told me how the world

was born. in the beginning, he said an ocean.

he licked my palms clean. told me i only howl

to try & call back everything that has left me.


Alfredo Aguilar is the son of Mexican immigrants. His work has appeared or is currently forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, The Adroit Journal, Drunken Boat, & elsewhere. He lives in North County San Diego.