What Rough Beast | Poem for March 1, 2017

Desiree Morales

I remember it very specifically
as it’s happening
so I’ll be able to tell someone
how astonishing it was
beautyberries neon purple
the shaded trail I walk
the year summer was lethal
I mean the year heat
almost killed me
the year it seems like
everyone good was dying
the year earthquakes
were everywhere now
the year North Dakota locked
people like you in dog kennels
and wrote numbers on their bodies
to identify numbered bodies
even though people like you
have names
the year of lemons
so gold like daylight
I purchased them extravagantly
showed them affection
wondered how long
we would have lemons like that
the year Haiti flooded
the year we were horrified
the year we were angry that others
were not horrified, the year we sang
Redemption Song at the capital
at Black Lives Matter, a few yards
from men fondling their
semi-automatic weapons
the year of the Rain Room
the year I knew I’d have to fight
for drinking water someday
I mean the year
we fought for drinking water
the year I came home
from drinking wine with my
beautiful friends
saw the news
and sunk to the floor sobbing
I am remembering very specifically
as it happens
which is called bearing witness
which is called a kind of hubris
believing there will be someone to tell


Desiree Morales‘s work has appeared in Chaparral, Truck, and Conflict of Interest. She grew up in Southern California and lives in Austin, Texas.

SUBMIT to What Rough Beast via our SUBMITTABLE site.

If you want to support the mission and work of Indolent Books, consider making a tax-deductible contribution to Indolent Arts Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity.