Three Poems by Sergio A. Ortiz

A Wolf

“I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.”
—from “Praise Song for the Day,” by Elizabeth Alexander

passed by my eyes
leaving his footsteps
in my veins.
Stealthy and hungry,
he stalked the city
scrutinizing the future.
Today the shutters are closed
because in this poem
there’s a wolf
coming to get me.
Even when I try to be quiet
he jumps the words,
a memory rips out a howl,
and devours me.

 

The Drowned

I want to clarify
it was not in a river
but in the very ground
in front of President’s Park
where I drowned.

The only river I have
in my memory is
a shudder
where small things
sink but never disappear.

Sometimes, I sink before
the river passes,
and my request
for help
is always late.

 

At the Margin of Things

These days
behind what I write
there is always rain.

Music opens a sphere
and unheard of ghosts
come and go as they please
singing,
dance me to the end of love,
but I can’t.

The insults, the injuries
made at the margins
are unsafe halfway houses of terror,
where naked orange clowns
grow balls, and file their nails.

Gravity ceases
under their wet boots

and it rains
all over
my margins.

***

Sergio A. Ortiz is a gay Puerto Rican poet and the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. He is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four-time Best of the Web nominee, and a 2016 Best of the Net nominee. His poems have been published in hundreds journals and anthologies. He is currently working on his first full length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.

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