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M Ó N I C A  G O M E R Y

4 poems


When I first took her or she took me, sanded
and bagged me, loosened up my eyes

Sun was our planet, broken into arrows, heat along
our arms, burned, burnt, dissolving into ay’s

Mouthed weather, marsh of sheets, splintered skin
where now she buried salt, my gorgeous demise

I tried not to name what came for me, yet: elbow, kneecap,
chin hair, waves of smell grafted to cupping hands, overflowing eyes

Grew me longer than the length of me, myself gone reaching,
reaping––how, silly me, I thought I’d ever used before my eyes.


abuela idioma whiteness winter
buzón pasaporte laundered lettered
country nowhere kitchen stranger
doña valle playa kitchen
ocean edges mountain mountain
forest pueblo paper fringes
fathers scissors step-aunts soldiers
husband airport stranger pulling
husband kuchen kitchen sugar
kitchen stranger airport kitchen
kuchen knuckles scissors nowhere
mezcla mapa sala masa
mountain kitchen stitching tongue
pulling passport seafloor lengua
pine trees prayer pregunta portal
prayerbook pine trees candles matches
silence selva sinagoga
suitcase scissors stranger lengua
sisters step-aunts brother soldiers
soldiers soldiers soldiers soldiers
soldiers soldiers soldiers soldiers
soldiers soldiers soldiers soldiers
velas matches fuego flame
whiteness stitching silence mundo
soldiers silence stitching soldiers
pueblo mapa playa mundo
mountain passport mongrel mundo
soldiers ocean stranger mundo

Prompt: put your contradicting parts in dialogue
with one another. What can dialogue be
if some tongues are composed of iron or blade?
How does tenderness speak to brutality?
Does brutality wave a national flag?
Say cloaks traded for jackets,
throats traded for jackals.
Say fringes on garments became cold clutch of pearls.
Say the promise of steel made of paper and blood,
say promise and mean what a promise is always:
no more dying, no more dead, no more dying.
A people with an anthem meant to beat out
the drone, to out-fox the angel of death and his armies
of rapists and gluttons, say who wouldn’t run
from that army? But running is different
than dancing and jackals don’t look right
in jackets. Ask what we gambled
in order to thrive off the fingers
of children we claimed were not
our own children, ask what
does it mean if you can live
in a city for decades
without riding
the bus?

That year we learned to bend our knees, to stretch our palms
flat on the ground, attention grew a garden of our eyes.

We remembered pencils, hand washed dishes, started sleeping
more. Stole time from empire’s cabinets, packed time into our eyes.

We said I don’t know more often to more people. Remembered
humming trees, how generous the sky, we stopped trying to look

cool while dancing. Remembered bodies without war against
the asphalt: shoulder tips, finger bones, clear palliated eyes.

Our thousand heels sang patience. Or: our thousand heels sang rage.
Remembered death, laid stones down there. Tribute to lost eyes.

Remembered how to boil stock from scrap. Ground rushed to meet us
as we fell, every feeling came to flood us, every ancestor’s worn eyes.

We bowed our heads, our hair fell out, grief came over us, a starshower
to brighten and to wreck, to level us, and open, finally, our eyes

Mónica Gomery, 4 poems: CV


Mónica Gomery is a rabbi and poet. She is the author of the poetry collection Here is the Night and the Night on the Road (Cooper Dillon Books, 2018), and the chapbook Of Darkness and Tumbling (YesYes Books, 2017). Her second collection of poems, Might Kindred, will be out in November, 2022 from University of Nebraska Press. Read more at

Mónica Gomery, 4 poems: Text
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