a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Mom is happy when the deer,
los venados, hop the chain-link fence
and graze in her yard. There’s usually
three does and one buck with strong antlers.
Yesterday, they rested in the shade
of the house. She stood two feet away
but could not bring herself to touch
the closest doe. Of course, our family wonders
if the buck is you, Pop, coming to show
Mom that she is not alone. Meanwhile, I am mixed up
in dreams, a son trying to find a lost father
and a mother he fears losing too.
I live 40 minutes away from her,
which might as well be a moon or a planet away.
When I cannot call, I send my love,
hoping it transcends and bends time, deep
into the dreamscape where we find you and your
branches of horns touching the sky and
Mom, now standing next to you with her hand
that rests tenderly on your neck.
Juan J. Morales is the son of an Ecuadorian mother and Puerto Rican father. He is the author of three poetry collections, including The Handyman’s Guide to End Times, winner of the 2019 International Latino Book Award. Recent poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, The Laurel Review, Breakbeats Vol. 4 LatiNEXT, Acentos Review, Collateral, terrain.org, Pank, and Poetry. He is a CantoMundo Fellow, a Macondo Fellow, the editor/publisher of Pilgrimage Press, and Professor of English and the Associate Dean of the College of Humanities Arts & Social Sciences at Colorado State University Pueblo.