jo reyes-boitel

Jo Reyes-Boiteljo reyes-boitel is a poet, essayist, and playwright. Somehow born in Minnesota, her family calls Texas, Florida, Mexico, and/or Cuba home. Formerly a music researcher and a sometimes hand percussionist. Publications include Scalawag Journal, La Voz de Esperanza, Chachalaca Review, Borderlands, The Americas Review, and Your Impossible Voice. Her book, Michael + Josephine, a novel in verse, is available through FlowerSong Books.

Last Night I Was Killed By A Man

After Natalie Scenters-Zapico

That the monarchs come through our city at all is an astonishment. They are
fleeing this country, called The New Death, and our city is a bruise of
constellations now made borderlands. Cloud upon cloud of dust have left us
decimated, wheezing. We are a country that is dying.

The man notices none of this.

The yard has not been watered. The rosemary are dying. Sage brushes pulled out
weeks ago, exposing worms from the panting soil. I am already dead. The man has
hidden me in a history where I have little I can say, save the whispers I reveal to the
bartender down the street between glasses of rum & coke. This is death then,
even if my mouth is half opened in wait. The man does not question his status. The
man says it is late at night and so it is. The man says the house needs sweeping
and so he works to rectify that. Grieving isn’t a necessity when there are women
to be hunted. Women who will tend to the garden and cook a meal and sweep the
goddamn floor. Any woman will do.

I wear bells


torn limb from limb, no one bothered as I put myself back together
after countless moons, I managed a walk

my face scarred, unrecognizable my skin a topography of injury

only when I dared walk through, bells singing my return,
was I ridiculed, questioned: ingrata whore caprichosa

spit in my face, how I was reminded I deserved this pain
how dare I pin myself together sew piece by piece
each thread considered, pieces pulled apart again and re-sewn

until the heat swells my flesh until I can’t hear
flesh welding into stone falling into itself
a seed to start again
until only my voice clips
at the sky