Distancing

BY ILIANA ROCHA

My father apologizes for wishing death upon the President & immediately asks for forgiveness. This isn’t about grace, but balance— thin equator of faith. Not enough people have wanted me dead. We’ll get there. Says the Rocky Mountains are a series of small collapses he no longer fears. Clouds whisper plainly their worry above where another father cries pussy when his toddler weeps about heights. At the end of the rifle is appetite, did you know the first wreckage was God, & the virus is a liberal peepshow, a voice says over & over again, as if nature approves such a replication, & maybe it has. If so, I want to add another: In Mexico, my mother cradled her abdomen & plunged herself underwater in the river at the exact moment Jackie Kennedy miscarried. At six years old, she let herself drown in holler & eñe just long enough for one breath in her body to thread into another outside of it—& somewhere in that stalwart rapture, I hope, there is us.


ILIANA ROCHA is the 2019 winner of the Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry for her newest collection, The Many Deaths of Inocencio Rodriguez, forthcoming from Tupelo Press. Karankawa, her debut, won the 2014 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015).

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