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Michelle Lizet Flores
#1: The Colony
His bumper sticker says
“Boycott any company that makes
you press 1 for English.”
The apartment complex is a dying
vestige of Hollywood colonialism
of faux stucco and golden orange paint.
down La Mirada Drive, circling
around each cluster of condos.
A woman wearing
a hijab and a woman holding
a rosary walk past, united
through their age.
next to the dumpster,
wafts of flowery perfume and putrid garbage emanating
as you pass.
Shirtless teens stroll past
the wrought-iron bars as you turn
on Toledo, towards the Ethiopian restaurant. You wait
for the light to change
while a man with a confederate flag on the back of his truck passes
A squirrel nibbles at
a fallen mamey.
Abuela ties a plastic lizard to
the mango tree. A white cat strolls along
the fence, eyeing her.
Abuela doesn’t notice and continues to
hum her ballads.
Ferrell peacocks call from
I float on
a vinyl purple flower.
My thighs stick to
the surface though
I try to
moisten them with
gentle splashes of chlorinated salvation.
My outer arms warm to
a golden brown color, like melted butter in
a copper skillet.
My inner arms embrace their cool pale tone,
blue veins peeking through
a frozen river.
The banyan trees begin to
grow where they had been cut last hurricane season,
short green branches bursting from
flat brown knots.
I hop out of
the pool to
stare at the bougainvillea. I lay my towel beneath
and peer at
a fuchsia filtered sky.
A cane toad rests by
Mosquitoes buzz past, finding rotten guava a few feet from
The scent makes my head
spin and soon I lose track of
time and space.
a few hours later
the sky is a midnight blue.
More cane toads arrive,
to the moon.
#3: I-10 to Lake City
I notice the first piece as I drive home from school,
rushing to pick up my kids before day care closes,
rushing to lie down after a day of teaching 5th graders how to cite textual evidence from poetry.
The jagged edges of the watermelon are lined with dirt.
Bits are strewn across the highway,
the amaranth meat slowly turning the color of old ballet slippers.
After merging on to I-95 south,
I see a broken shovel on the shoulder of the road,
the blade splintered from the shaft.
I exit onto Beach Boulevard,
The overpass above me lined with cars,
A white man in a red hat knuckle deep in frustration as the cars trudge slowly across the sky.
I finally arrive to day care minutes before closing,
My son’s golden brown curls caked in a sweet juice,
My infant daughter’s eyes filled with fire and molasses.