The End of the Universe
Dr. Bans lectures on the end of the universe.
One thing is clear to me: when all the stars die,
It will be so cold, it will appear like the winter
You and your mom would not leave that motel
In New Hampshire, because the day before you
Almost drove off the mountain road, and for
Some reason, the car slid everywhere except
Over the edge.
I am a young boy again and I am sinking to
The bottom of a deep well. The descent is
Lonely as hell. When the universe decides the
Fate of everyone, I want at least to be by your
Side. A hand reaches into the water and years
Later, my mom tells me that I landed exactly
On a single plank of wood jutting out from
The wall. I owe my life to that single plank
Dr. Bans is still miraculously lecturing, and we are
Miraculously still alive. I do not learn anything
Beyond the fact that the universe is like God:
a hard subject to teach in the middle of the day.
As I walk out the class, I feel drowsy. But I
Remember clearly that day I almost drowned.
When my mom pulled me out the well,
The sun blinded me and amidst gasps for air
She looked like God.
By Rubén JDV
The horse drawing on the wine bottle reminds me of September.
I am a young man next to a pretty woman. We drove in the rain
For an eternity. Now, we read poetry to each other in native tongues.
Somehow, I understand she loves me. She understands I will leave.
Between knowing and wanting, one of us stumbles on the word.
Neither of us can pronounce the sound after falling.
A road figures in my dream and it is the same road.
When I open my eyes, I hear only the patter
Of rain over your grandmother’s cottage.
Inside, we are warm and full. All night long
We practice cannibalism. You swallow bodies
And acres of land from the stories I tell. I choke
On what I do not know. Yet, I still cannot believe
I found you after lifetimes of searching. Mhudi.
The sound of rain has summoned you. You look
beautiful tonight. Ready to face a world wont
to separate us. The rain grows heavier. It sounds
like galloping horses.
We have been driving in the rain, for an eternity.
The horse drawing on the wine bottle reminds me of Septembers.
I am a young man next to a pretty woman.
Somehow, she loves me.
What none of us can pronounce, I finally say.
Your tongue reminds me I will not be loved when I leave.
You will be startled at discovering vases full of white lilies.
All over your room. They will bow their heads,
And you will bless them. The side of your finger, holy.
A voice will speak from a phone. It will remind you of a hand
Exquisite at picking flowers. It will make you feel like a lily
Wearing a tight glass dress. Decorated by desire at the edges.
You will not remember my body lying in your garden
Receiving love from a sun I need. A tree that will not grow.
I will not grow what you desire. Bushy-haired, thin, lackluster,
I will never be good enough. See now my soiled body crawling by
Your window. Hear my nails scratch against the stone walls.
My pricked skin satisfied by punishment. Listen: a man
Once carried a cross for your sins--he called that love.
One evening, I laid rose petals
in your bed knowing when you
came home, you would take off
Your clothes and wait there
In the middle of the bed, for
Me to appear out of nowhere.
Running a rose petal across
Your thigh, your eyes would
Give me no choice. What I want
To forget is how our bodies would
Become like rose bushes, thorns
Piercing flesh, our beauty hiding
Our tendencies for harm.
My father was the kind of working-class Mexican man
Who would take us out to Denny’s nights after beating my mother.
My brother and I solved mazes in children’s menus. After a while,
he places his hand over hers—an apology. For a crazy moment,
Mother lets the silence hang, looking down at her lap. The lies sit
with us like a family at the dinner table holding their breath. As the
fiction falls apart, what will happen to America’s Diner? Somewhere
at a table inside Denny’s, a couple’s screaming children might sound
You and I sit across the dinner table.
Instead of holding hands, we hold
Deadweight. Years of our lives. In
Lines of our palms. I am no longer a
Man who yearns for love. You are
No longer a woman who yearns this
Man. We eat in silence. We eat solely
For the purpose of being excused to
The far end of a bed where we fall
Asleep counting more time. When
we are finished, you do not look
At me. You do not give thanks for
This last meal.