The Boiler

Anthony Cody

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.


“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
                                                  las espinas
as the blossoms                                            .a fire
                                     quema todo
                                     pero salva
                                     los que cubren
                                                                                                                             la llama

.a nopal could be quiet
             but who                      plunges
                                                  each thorn
             into the drum
and swallows                                            .the rust
                                     no es
                                     una cortina
                                     para parar
                                                                                   el torrente.

.a nopal could be asleep
             but who                      kicks
                                                  the hibernating
             until sunrise
shows                                                                they are countless
                                                  .the drought
                                                  is rooted
                                                  in birth

                                                                                                             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.