Melissa Bernal Austin


There are no metaphors in this poem
There is only the little thumbnail of the moon,

Venus a round and clear bell.
Crickets choiring in harmony with transport trucks.

The wink of whichever stars aren’t swallowed up
by the city’s million million lights.

And the silent rhizomes of grass,
muscling thinly through dry dirt.

The rose I thought was dead, but isn’t.
The gazania and honeysuckle greenly crying

April, in spite of my forgetfulness.
No, neglect. The Arizona Ash, ruffling

its fresh plumage, a mating call.
The black carpenter bee, thick as a thumb,

searching, searching, not for me.
None of it for me.

Melissa Bernal Austin is a queer Latine writer, artist, and educator in El Paso, TX. Spotted in the wild, they’ll typically be covered in cat hair, paint, and/or dirt. Their work can be found or is forthcoming in Longleaf Review, CrabFat Magazine, Dreginald, Pidgeonholes, and more. More of their work and projects can be found online at @house.gnome and @mbernalaustin.