Anonymously winter releases its dead
And we who survive another day
Must bear the blame for those
Who failed to linger.
If they could speak,
They would bewail in echoes of ice
Their truncated lives,
Their perennial hunger and thirst
For the dead are always hungry
Thirsty to be among the living.
How to explain it all?
Only to record their loss
With a blind and fierce tenderness.
How death came early and without warning
Entered our bedrooms
Tarnishing forever the tenderest
We did not know
And in the face of this
I will maintain our innocence.
A man I love lies dying.
How to reconcile such loss?
The labored breathing in the dark;
The broken smile. And his heart,
The only thing this illness couldn’t take
Now a timid animal of dusk.
Only this is certain
Before dawn he will fly like a shadow,
Fly like birds frightened into air.
Just now he is asking for water
Already, the thirst has begun.
Digs its way into the ground
Tooth and nail,
Unable to sleep, rise
A skeletal structure
Of darkness and fog.
I will abandon this skin,
Inherit absence in its place
That other country
Where flesh is a stubborn memory
With a frenzy of questions.
Our bodies have become
Organs of mourning
We make love
Unaware that we do so
With gestures we’ve learned
From the dying.
David Acosta’s work has appeared in Mayrea, The Evergreen Chronicles, The Americas Review, and the anthologies: American Poetry Confronts the 1990s (Black Tie Press, 1990), The Limits of Silence (Asterion Press, 1991), Poesida (Ollantay Press, 1995), and Floating Borderlands: Twenty-Five Years of Latin American Poetry in The United States (University of Washington Press, 1998). He is also included as a contributor to the first anthology of Latino LGBT history in the United States and Puerto Rico, Queer Brown Voices (University of Texas Press, 2015). David lives in Philadelphia, where he is the Artistic Director of Casa de Duende, and arts organization dedicated to producing socially relevant exhibits and performances linking artists and communities at the local, national, and international level.
These poems are not previously published.