Looking back, we did not know
which sign came first:
The roosters roosting on the roof
refusing to touch ground.
Horses snorting in their stalls
pupils, nostrils widening.
The goat atop the cow’s back.
The hound dog keening on the porch,
scratching at the open door.
The red kites gathering.
The bloody caul that cloaked the foal.
Fragments from the teapot’s shattered spout.
The knife that scarred the sideboard.
The memory box, the cradle cracked.
The letters used for kindling.
The stars lined up like dead men’s eyes.
The dried up well.
The weeping oak.
The moon, low and waning.
The feeling of familiar hands
upon the throat, contracting.
Emily Pérez is the author of the poetry chapbook Backyard Migration Route, (Finishing Line Press, 2011). Her poems have appeared in journals including Crab Orchard Review, Calyx, Borderlands, and DIAGRAM, and her full length manuscript House of Sugar, House of Stone is forthcoming from the Center for Literary Publishing. While earning her MFA at the University of Houston, she served as a poetry editor for Gulf Coast and taught with Writers in the Schools. A recipient of grants and scholarships from the Artist Trust, Jack Straw Writers, Bread Loaf Writers’ Workshop, Summer Literary Seminars, and Inprint, Houston, she is also a member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Emily teaches English in Denver where she lives with her husband and sons.