By Robert Fernandez b. 1980 Robert Fernandez


How can we accommodate these reforms? The nights of bell-flowers are as finished as the hell of water that has unrolled and become news. Pull at the ox’s ring and the wall of the sinuses falls down. Pull at the hoop in the eyelid, dormitories are felled. A marriage of fists and kites, the smile is hammered so painstakingly into the gut it forms a ring.


I am staring up at a boxing match in which white Everlasts and red Everlasts take on the breakneck speed of cupids. Art Deco façades hem in the open-air courtyard; a black belt of skyline circles off their incandescent white waists. The sunrise pulls level with the sea. The boxers’ shadows furl and unfurl, drawing into cups.


You open your heart’s wings like a bread riot, split the uncooked potatoes on the table with a glance, and eat. You make the hours work like fragile perceptions for the food they get, the warmth they get, for the variable, contradictory spontaneities imposed on their bodies as love or triumph in mistaken assertions.

Robert Fernandez, “Trophies” from We Are Pharaoh. Copyright © 2011 by Robert Fernandez. Reprinted by permission of Canarium Books.

Source: We Are Pharoah (Canarium Books, 2011)

 Robert  Fernandez


Poet and editor Robert Fernandez was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and grew up in Miami. He earned an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the author of the collections We Are Pharaoh (2011), Pink Reef (2013), and Scarecrow (Wesleyan University Press, 2016). He is also the co-translator, with Blake Bronson-Bartlett, of Azure (2015), a translation of the work of Stéphane Mallarmé. In poems that take on ancient Egypt, the . . .

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