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For Alejandra Negrete, Yesenia Quiroz, Mile Virginia Martín, Nadia Vera, and Rubén Espinosa

Dark trees on all my roofs. A grime pastoral bursts from this waking, women who had names, then didn’t, then did. Her home had been entered and. Had joined many protests and was. Were known critics of.

How many times in the dark? A brick for every freedom to hold its dream in. Will the Sun make his own grim entrance?

The full, the filled, and the fed are waving their fronds. We turn our heads on a lathe and think symmetrically.

There’s a rabbit in each of us, and a cactus. This table, incomplete without her and her salt.

The cartography of our hands and its warbler skyline. Blue spilling over everything, washing cleaning rinsing. She is replaced by an empty word. The blue penny of a tongue withdrawing language.

The bushes sigh with giant cats. This is the Jupiter of landings, no one crawls from its wreckage.

Simmer and spin. Five shadows brush the enlarged night. Her names, replaced by empty. A field where there wasn’t one, the curator’s axe, missing. Spark and spit.

Her window had been. Neighbors told the authorities that they hadn’t heard. At least nine surveillance cameras.

Her jaguar faces on the wall. Last night the world thundered black but wouldn’t let loose.

By emptying, they amplify her. Wisp of long muscles, reaching forward into my conscience. A hard cut in the earth, the way she looks at me, siamese cats sliding away with eyes.

Phoenix of my arm, ginger of my fist. She arranges me into a sky called blaze, riot, rebellion. Like our republic now, an empty field of fingers. A sanctuary for the fierce growth of.

My heart, how you seed black. Where is the safe entry into this day? Under the network of her smiles, moonlight plugging our ears. She enters the new blue, and closes it.

 

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Kenji C. Liu Kenji C. Liu is author of "Map of an Onion," national winner of the 2015 Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize. His poetry appears in American Poetry Review, Action Yes!, Barrow Street Journal, American Literary Review, Split This Rock’s poem of the week series, three anthologies and a chapbook, You Left Without Your Shoes. He has received fellowships from Kundiman, VONA/Voices, Djerassi, and the Community of Writers.

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