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POETRY / Después De Las Piedras / Darren Donate

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It was some time after the second or third herniated disc,
the same constricted light in Rafa’s eyes,
I knew his shame & had no words for it.
Still, when we spoke his limpid voice returned me
to those summer evenings spent in Salado Lake
as we searched for piedras under the balm of moonlight,
tightly wound fists ready to lurch stones across the water.
The week before Rafa died, he joked,
will opiates ever be normal again?
I didn’t say anything & maybe he didn’t want me to,
instead I thought about how the stones bounced
on a watery reflection of the moon,
the ripples leaving a broken costera of stars.
A view so miniscule and momentary, it’s easy to say goodbye to.


Darren Donate's work represents Zacatecan life and peoples, depicting the dual struggles of migration and marginalization. He is currently an MFA Candidate at the University of New Mexico, while also working as an English teacher and welder.