Me muestra los cuernos,
goteando sangre rojo.
Lo muestro mi muleta,
y veo el enojo
de un monstruo
en los ojos.
Con una pata hace
una nube con el polvo,
Baja su cabeza,
y me embiste el toro.


English translation:


He shows me his horns,
dripping red blood.
I show him my cape
and see the anger
of a monster
in his eyes.
With a hoof he makes
a cloud with the dust,
lowers his head,
and the bull charges at me.


Coming Home

I claim time with my girls is the best of each day,
but I’m often so tired I come in and lay
with a screen in my hands on the couch by the door
till they beg me to come play with them on the floor;
and it’s not till I’ve clambered down off of my throne
with my phone on a shelf that I’m finally home.

To the soldier who rescued our flag in the rain

It fell down when the bracket broke
while I was away at work.
I called my wife as soon as it started raining
to have her shelter anything that was outside.
She was at home taking care of two babies
by herself and couldn’t answer the phone.
The fabric of the flag got soaked in the pouring rain,
and the extra weight bent the bracket down
until the flag slipped out and fell
to the ground under the dripping eaves of the house.
You saw it there—the flag for which which you had given
your sweat and blood and so much of your life,
the flag you defended overseas,
the flag for which your buddies died in the dirt—
you saw it there, caked in mud, and
you didn’t even hesitate.

Though I wasn’t there I can almost see you,
propping your collar up against the
soaking sheets of incoming water
as you slammed the car door
then raced across the swampy grass
in shoes far less suited than combat boots
to pick up the flag and roll it carefully
before knocking on the door
to hand it to my wife.
You told her that you were a soldier,
and that the mud was
“no place for a flag to be.”

Dear soldier who rescued our flag in the rain,
Lest you consider me indifferent,
I want you to know that I have the deepest respect
for men and women like you
who have sacrificed to sustain a country
in which I can leave my wife and daughters at home,
and know they’ll be dry and safe from the storms of the world.

Dear soldier who rescued our flag in the rain,
I want you to know that I honor our flag
and all it represents,
which is why I fastened the bracket
to the front of my house and proudly
fly it there as often as I can, and
I want to tell you how grateful I am
that you braved yet another storm
to uphold and protect our flag.

Hands (Inspired by “Hairs” by Sandra Cisneros)

Everybody in my family has different hands.
Ayden’s hands are short and agile for a two year old.
They love to turn the pages of books, fit puzzle pieces
together, and play games on touch screens.
Ellie’s hands are small and slow.
She reaches up to be held and rubs her sleepy eyes
with her chubby little fist.
Her hands love to clap and explore textures.
My hands are coarse, hard and practiced,
dexterous as a monkey climbing a tree.

But my wife’s hands,
my wife’s hands are soft and thin
and fair like a porcelain doll,
smooth as a polished vase but warm
as a mountain meadow in springtime and
every bit as fragrant,
and gentle,
gentle as a silken petal brushing my cheek,
and when she touches me
her hands are the doll,
the vase,
the meadow in Spring,
the pedal on my cheek—
and everything.