A Wakened State

By SARA MUNJACK

 

Ascención

I’ve fallen into an ant pile.
   I fight to stand up and shake off
a million legs whispering
           across my skin.

I keep dreaming of Chon
   before he was my grandfather. A boy
hiding in the desert for days surviving
           on nopales y ardillas.

Chon, before wading through the Rio Grande,
   water-laden and buoyed by his own
lack of citizenship. He’s hiding in the sand,

fighting to stand up and shake off the crawling dots,
   whispering across his skin.

Gregoria

It was not Cinco de Mayo. It was May 5th. Goya
           calls my mother to wish her happy birthday at 3am.
Thinking it is 3pm, she asks my mother why it is so dark out.

At home, Goya rocks
           all day and all night in her rocking chair
until the window blurs the world outside
           into one.

The dog, Güera, barks for a meal but Goya doesn’t know
           whether it’s for breakfast or dinner.
Her world is turned inside out so she’s up rifling
           through bags in the spare bedroom.

Galletas con leche de chocolate para la cenita,
           Goya whispers to herself her own histories
prays to Jesús
           wishes her daughters goodnight.

Little Güera has had a stroke and now she can’t walk.
           Auntie Vickie lifts her off the couch and my abuelita says
now, she will die too. Goya, drifting now, dips
           her fingers in menudo for Güera to lap up.

 

Sara Munjack holds an MFA from Rutgers-Newark and works at Four Way Books. She has poems published in Cosmonauts Avenue, Pigeon Pages, BOAAT, Gandy Dancer, ISO Magazine, tele-art mag, and Grist. She is the founder and host of Jersey City Reads Poems. You can find her at SaraBellaMunjack.com.

[Purchase Issue 24 here.]

A Wakened State

Related Posts

Image of a panini with tomato, cheese, and arugula, sliced in half.

You Must Like It All

MATHILDE MEROUANI
I put down my pen, and watched her. I had done that, every now and then, since we were six years old—stopped what I was doing to figure out something about her, to think about her face, or her hair, or the way she always laughed when I talked about death.

Chekhov Portrait

Looking for Anton Chekhov

A. MAURICIO RUIZ
I begin to walk on a red dirt road that meanders down, and in front of me, the vastness of the Crimean terrain opens up, splotches of yellow overgrown grass, young bushes and wildflowers, the quiet dark sea in the distance.

Top-down view of bouquets of various flowers, presumably for sale at a market.

Translation: Poems by Mireille Gansel

MIREILLE GANSEL
this morning while I was going to the docks looking for summer's last flowers at the florist's suddenly the look of this young boy with his mother her head scarf knotted like the Romani women who had offered us hospitality he and she hurrying both of them grasping black bags