You Will Identify My Body By Ear

“Trace the rim of your ear: Feel those curves & ridges?
You’re the only person in the world with that exact shape.” Reader’s Digest

Remember this if   my body
washes up on the beach, spit from the sea of Cortez.
My thin frame pregnant w/ water,
seaweed like filigree braided into my hair,
crabs in procession crawling out the caves of my nostrils.

Listen, if   the casket is open.
After my lobe is pierced by a service weapon,
my head    a ruined mouth w/ ears,
my soft-from-poem hands, folded on my lap
still          listening.

Don’t forget my ears
if   my heart pills to concrete.
Know they heard me drifting down to dark,
but were too quiet to keep me
awake. I heard you cursing me,
telling me you loved me, in the same breath.
Know they noted my last words—
Don’t tell the kids.

If   your final memory of me
is the sound of bullets,
if   your last vision is the bottoms of my shoes
running to fire back, if   my closing breath
is a poem in your ear explaining how to shoot a gun—
remember them.

If   my hair falls out like cut rope—
grasp at what’s left of me     folded like a fetus.
When my ears are no longer     don’t forget
their shape. How your fingers sang their curves,
read their familiar bends like braille          your hands
accepting our future in silence.

Listen if   I forget myself, you;
the words that my ears remember.


Not Estela, /
pigtails & cadence /
of okay mamá...okay papá /
w/o either parent.

My body no longer

as if we could lay ourselves down at our own feet /
to mourn, as if we could shuck skin like a snake, slide away /
naked and new, some born-again eve.