TWO POEMS by MANUEL CHAVARRIA
Vines grow fierce along the edge of every whim
Each notion pulls with it twelve other seedlings
That ripen and bulge and invite
The neighbors into your kitchen
You may believe that islands stand individual
Warriors of solitary purpose projected toward the sun
But each base gloms onto the earth
Thirsty, without the benefit
We live in sagging huts
Blankets between you and us and
Songs that slip across the great expanse
Harsh whispers to the untrained ear
Myths stand under the stars, not thee
Lips pursed in quiet judgment as gods titter
Come home to roost among queer birds
On branches beaten from the finest
Maps will not illuminate you
As unfathomable as the ebb of the cosmos
Ever collapsing onto one point of light, screaming
The bleat of midnight, the call of darkness unbidden
SATURDAY 330 AM
Down in the graveyard,
Behind my grandpa’s stone,
I saw a glint in the eye of a demon.
His teeth white under the moon,
He tuned a fiddle of bleached bone
Strung with fresh sinew
And I asked the demon
“Did you know my grandpa?
When you think of him, does your fiddle whine?”
And he said, “No, I didn’t know the man.
I didn’t know his smile,
Or the sour notes that rode his breath as he praised you.
I know only that this headstone
—reaching as it does for falling stars—
Casts the deepest shadows over the rest.”
With a sigh, the demon ran his bow across taut flesh
And it hissed,
And sent ravens into the sky.
Manuel Chavarria is a writer living in Los Angeles.