A un Desconocido

By Lorna Dee Cervantes b. 1954
I was looking for your hair,
black as old lava on an island   
of white coral. I dreamed it   
deserted you and came for me,   
wrapped me in its funeral ribbons   
and tied me a bow of salt.

Here’s where I put my demise:   
desiring fire in a web of tide,   
marrying the smell of wet ashes   
to the sweet desert of your slate.
My intelligent mammal, male
of my species, twin sun to a world   
not of my making, you reduce me   
to the syrup of the moon, you boil   
my bones in the absence of hands.

Where is your skin, parting me?
Where is the cowlick under your kiss   
teasing into purple valleys? Where   
are your wings, the imaginary tail
and its exercise? Where would I breed   
you? In the neck of my secret heart   
where you’ll go to the warmth of me   
biting into that bread where crumbs crack   
and scatter and feed us our souls;

if only you were a stone I could   
throw, if only I could have you.

“A un Desconocido” by Lorna Dee Cervantes was first published in Drive: The First Quartet (San Antonio: Wings Press, 2006).

Source: Drive: The First Quartet (Wing Press, 2006)

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Poet Lorna Dee Cervantes b. 1954


Subjects Relationships, Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love

Holidays Valentine's Day

 Lorna Dee Cervantes


One of the major voices in Chicana literature, poet Lorna Dee Cervantes’s writing evokes and explores cultural difference—between Mexican, Anglo, Native American, and African American lives—as well as the divides of gender and economics. Born in San Francisco in 1954 to Mexican and Native American ancestry, Cervantes was discouraged from speaking Spanish at home in an attempt to protect her from the racism prevalent at that . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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