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Between the House and the Hill

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This boy lying face down
in my sleep pushes around jars of jelly,
waking me the night he is found

so I can drag him from the wet ground
and clean his blackened belly,
this boy lying face down

who is somehow bound
to me, this hunted herdsman, refugee
waking me the night he is found.

Am I to dress him in an open gown,
bless the holes in his chest with tea
leaves? This boy lying face down,

permeating even the simplest sound,
with the crack in the door he slowly
cries, waking me the night he is found,

lips parted to my blue-black ground,
whispering red vetch inside me,
this slender boy lying down,
waking me the night he is found.

Xochiquetzal Candelaria, “Between the House and the Hill” from Empire. Copyright © 2011 by Xochiquetzal Candelaria. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.
Source: Empire (University of Arizona Press, 2011)
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Between the House and the Hill

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