no te quedes
No. Do not stay here. Along this on-ramp.
This hill. This earbone of blood, a puddled
cochlea. No. A tectonic. No. An erupting contraption
rugiendo until the manufactured labyrinth of trenzas
and nerves buckle and bridge. Somehow
las raíces florecen, the quiet exhale of soil
resting from rain: la tierra nunca abandons, remains
out of breath from farewells. Despedidas and patience
from a guidance of stars. No. Do not stay
here. Unleaf each tree. Deberry each bush.
Satchel the ancestral and lagrimas. And board. Or walk.
O mantienes. Or by holding your breath in such silence
that the deaf are startled. Until landing. Until
crossing. Hasta que puedes desaparacer between
pasture and escalator. Until all and none know
your people. Until you find yourself preparing
to merge onto a grey highway. Cement comes
from imploding the core. This is how they build
from nothing: vaciando todo. But know everything
remains: an unknown pile of repurposed meaning.
Beneath: a mastodon que se rindío. A split sequoia.
A shuttered village. A volcano of home que se aguarda.
Que resuena. That counts the hairs en su tobillo. Notice
the light is green. No. No te quedes. Go and know nebulas.
NOPALES, A MEXICAN LYNCHING, No. 39
“Mexicans have no business in this country. I don’t believe in them. The men were made to be shot at, and the women were made for our purposes. I’m a white man— I am! A Mexican is pretty near black. I hate all Mexicans.”
– April 6, 1850, Stockton Times Op-Ed
.a nopal could be weeping
but who examines
as the blossoms .a fire
los que cubren
.a nopal could be quiet
but who plunges
into the drum
and swallows .the rust
.a nopal could be asleep
but who kicks
shows they are countless
en una paciencia de ríos
Anthony Cody is from Fresno, California. He is a CantoMundo fellow, an editorial member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle, a fellow at US Poet Juan Felipe Herrera’s Laureate Lab at Fresno State, and a graduate of Fresno State. His poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, ToeGood Poetry Journal, Tropics of Meta, and El Tecolote Newspaper, in Gentromancer, a collaborative art project with visual artist Josue Rojas. He served as co-editor of How Do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday), in which he also contributed poems. He currently resides in Chicago, IL.