cars parked on the road between buildings

Poetry No. 73 – Mario Duarte


by Mario Duarte

______As plain as I am, I feel beautiful
when I am with you. Your elegant
spring body, exquisitely long
______neck makes all the streetlights
slowly green and Iowa City streets grow
______senseless but not dreamless.

______I picture us alone on a bench,
in City Park, holding your milky hand,
eyes fluttering open on an animal-shaped
______sky and a pond not green not gray
but colorized with rosebuds and violets
______while a leopard frog crawls out to sing.

______When you snap your tapered fingers,
I awake to the world—see the hombre
without legs wheeling away, a homeless
______sign on his back, the money request,
others’ indifferent eyes, hardline faces blurring
______into the white wave of the future.

______Put a finger to the wind and know
which direction your spit must fly. Why not
admire your pink high tops and torn t-shirt,
______your long red hair brushing your lips
casting a seeing spell for the lost and forgotten,
______teaching the wordless how to speak.

Mario Duarte is a Mexican American writer and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His poems and short stories have appeared in Aaduna, Abstract Elephant, American Writers Review, Emerald City, Pank, Plainsongs, Rigorous, Typishly, and Zone 3. New work is forthcoming in Journal X, Native Skin, and New Croton Review.

Photo by Andrés Sánchez on

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