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Four Poems by Mateo Lara
October 1, 2018
October 2, 2018


  1. The fingertip bruises on my arms didn’t fade for over two weeks and I haven’t missed him since.


  1. It’s difficult for me to find the beginning of things. It’s the end of things that always leave me scarred.


  1. I went to Carmel-by-the-Sea for Thanksgiving. I spent it with 3 generations of a family I had never met until that day. The four children spent the afternoon bouncing around on the top of a 12-foot hedge. I climbed halfway up the ladder and stood there, watching them.


  1. I wonder if bruised plums taste sweeter than unbruised plums.


  1. I got stoned recently and decided to wax my kitchen floor at 2AM. It smelled like artificial lemons and mistakes. An hour later, I slipped reaching for the tequila bottle. Now, I have a bruise the length of my entire bicep, tucked beside my ribcage. I show it to people to silence them.


  1. I called Plan B, Plan A the other day. I believe that’s what they call rock bottom.


  1. A 70-year-old man at Thanksgiving asked me if I had several boyfriends. I wondered if he ever thought about his words before saying them.


  1. My mother texted me for the first time in 4 months. She wanted to tell me, if she hadn’t told me already, that she’s finally divorced. I told her that was great news and that I was proud of her.


  1. My nieces Juniper and Lily make me watch them perform little dances in their living room to the song Happy by Pharrell Williams. The guy who wears big hats. Once they’re done shimmying around the room, dosey-doeing and twirling in circles, I clap.


  1. Everybody craves recognition in some form or other.


  1. I attended my parent’s wedding in baby-shrimp-utero form. My sisters wore carnation pink dresses with puffy sleeves. My mom’s eyelashes looked like thick spider’s legs. The judge looked just how you’d imagine.


  1. I’d like to think that my birth was more of an escape than an arrival. I am glad that my mother escaped. I just wish that it hadn’t taken 6 years.


  1. In the family’s house in Carmel, nearly every room had a skylight. From every angle you could see sky and sea. I’d never felt so safe.


  1. I went to a teenager’s funeral when I was nineteen. Her name was Morgan. The same day, I went to a date party on the Detroit Princess Riverboat. When the night was over, I had to be wheeled off the boat and carried to bed.


  1. The sticker on my apple says the word Envy.


  1. It’s always the woman’s fault.


  1. My ex-boyfriend asked to see the house I grew up in when I was a child. It sounds cool, he said. I showed him a map of the house that I drew on the back of a napkin.


  1. This is where my mom threw me against the wall.


  1. Here is where my brother overdosed.


  1. Here is where I ran.


  1. That’s where I washed Ava with Dawn dish soap every day, to kill the fleas.


  1. Oh, he says.


  1. How’s your brother doing? Hopefully good.


  1. I ran into the Pacific Ocean a couple weeks ago wearing leggings and a tank top. I thought I’d come out freezing but instead I came out hot.


  1. I went in twice because once is never enough.


  1. Afterwards, I spent hours thinking I had sand fleas on me. Hiding in the moist folds of my clothing. I stripped off everything and started the washing machine.


  1. Some memories are best left untouched.


  1. I met a guy on my birthday two months ago and now he sleeps in my bed every night.


  1. Some things don’t make sense until after they’ve finished. I’m in no rush.


  1. He told me that I remind him of his best friends back home. That my existence excites him.


  1. We teach each other lessons without knowing.


  1. How to make the perfect pancake. How to apologize.


  1. Sometimes, I think that his sadness matches my sadness. Like two straws cut the same exact length, held inside a palm.


  1. I can hear his smile before I see it.


  1. He was the first stranger I told about the assault. The rape. And he’s helped me heal ever since.


  1. He was the first stranger I let see all of me at once.

    Alexandria Liston is a recent MFA graduate from California College of the Arts. She is currently working on her memoir that focuses on the complexities of surviving domestic violence, addiction, mental illness, and motherhood. She enjoys calm Wednesday afternoons and all other monotony derived from a rational lifestyle.