Poetry No. 27 – Antonio Lopez

By Antonio Lopez

—–Her mantle hips steal light from Huitzilopotchli, to feed the moon beating inside la diosa, but she remains in drowsy deadlock with the white nurses who will administer the epidural. She cries in her eternal accent, “No nurs-” to honor the remedio of clenched teeth that elder mothers wore at their birthing. But with each tear of the fleshy fabric, she loses her chance to greet the fifth sun, who after nine straight months, shares his first morning with her, still in security uniform.

—–He lifts his black Azteca fist, stiff from dying in graveyard shifts, only to cover his jaguar teeth as he watches from the corner of the room. The police sirens pump blood-curdling shrills into the barred window, into veins as wide as chinampas.

—–The barrio’s gritos act as ultrasound, the placenta’s lava-spewing vessel carries life from Xibalba, to this corner of Whittier and S Eastern Ave.

—–Dar luz, to give light, is to clump up mounds of the fertile crescent, where women crouch in muddy fields, women slap wet maíz over a coughing fogón, women dodge fire-cracking men whose chifles whizz past their dresses, that threaten to char their white hems. Where women turn to mothers by splitting their molten innards, heaving slabs of organs, until the contractions collide hipbone with toilet bowl cleaner, until the pores of sweat drip onto bone-chalked bed sheets, until she screams from the temple-tops of the hospital’s 2nd floor.

—–¡¡¡Mateo!!! ¡¡¡Ven acá pa’que ayudes al doctor!!!



Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Antonio Lopez received a double B.A. in Global Cultural Studies (Literature) and African-American studies from Duke University (Class of 2016). He’s an inaugural John Lewis Fellow, a recipient of Rudolph William Rosati Creative Writing Award, and a finalist for the 2017 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize. In 2017, he attended the Yale Writer’s Conference, the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, as well as awarded the Lucille Clifton Memorial Scholarship to attend the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. His nonfiction has been featured in TeenInk, The Chronicle, PEN/America and his poetry in After Happy Hour Review, Gramma Press, Somos en Escrito, Electica, Hispanecdotes, La Bloga, Acentos Review, Sinking City, What Rough Beast, By&By, Permafrost, Track//Four, and the American Journal of Poetry. He is currently pursuing a Master in Fine Arts (poetry) at Rutgers University-Newark.

Art by C. O’Connor.