Selected by Mish Murphy, Assistant Poetry Editor

Mark Statman: Three Poems

some history

we lived in
a place of
and fire the
earth opens up
the buildings come
down the people come
down villages
swallowed by rage
fear they disappear
into dust there’s
dust everywhere it
seals the

home I take a
panuelo (bandana)
clean the
dust off my teeth my
face and look at
the mountains our
fields my
neighbor’s sheep
and goats herded
by his children

on the walk today
on the
dirt roads called
highway a
boy had appeared
in blood he
seemed out of
nowhere a truck
had come by a
sudden scream the
truck was gone
and the boy from
a village hours
away he’d been
attacked beaten he
had no money he
had nothing
they’d thrown
him in the back
of the truck they’d
driven hours
and just here
dumped him
dusty ravine we stood
there myself some
farmers suddenly
emerged from
the woods and
gullies men women a
family came by in a
pickup stopped to
see this crying
beaten boy
maybe thirteen he
held out his arms
dust blood I
gave him some
water what else could
I do we watched
as he walked
into a field a woman
with a machete
went to him
she talked came
back our small
helpless group she
was shaking her head
she said something
about God he
walked in circles
he fell down and
we stood there
needing a doctor in
this place we
don’t have one


on the road

take the coastline and
mountains as serenity and
justice fierce battalion
of caracara and falcons
every step and twist and
turn it’s a meeting of
the minds serpent on
my wrist the lizard they want
entry into paradise there
is no paradise there are
footprints body prints
platanos in the trees and
cocos frios at the
road stands bottles of
mezcal silver glass glitter
in afternoon sunlight everyone
on the side of the
road half-naked in the
heat water steams off
them they wave at
passing cars at airplanes
overhead we all are
going somewhere fate
perdition paradise a
weave of time
of courage
and sky raptors it
takes hold with the
music on the radio
all the boys love Mary Ann
in the air with the windows
open and jasmine



as if the last
time as if the
stars aligned their
singing constellations the
choral kiss and

me as if the
meaning of rain and
the meaning of sleep the
meaning of order the
meaning of erasure
told stories

where in the world I’ll
go after the
last words the last
hallelujah the amen
of being aligns
with a
walk up and down
the stairs
thirsty for a
glass of water

the house empties

alone among the
voices I’ll
struggle my loss of
words and I’ll
ask of you forgiveness
a ceremony
to replace resolve we
resolve we listening

                                 that song


cover of Hechizo by Mark Statman
Hechizo by Mark Statman

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