Sara Borjas is a Fresno poet and third-generation Chicana. She is a Community of Writers at Squaw Valley Workshop Fellow and a 2017 CantoMundo Fellow. She received the 2015 Blue Mesa Poetry Prize for her poem, “Half-Elegy for My Mother’s Voice.” She digs space & time, memory, aromatics, tiny prints and oldiez. Her most recent poetry can be found in The Offbeat, Calamity, The Acentos Review and Luna Luna. She is a lecturer in the Creative Writing Department at UC Riverside.
for Eduardo & Kaveh
I listen to your last line like it’s oldiez
like Smokey or Summer, drinking
a chela, doing that special listening.
When news comes, you are in my arms
entirely. I love you with an enormous trumpet
where my face should be. Your titles are water
I filled a garbage can with & swam in as a girl
& you do not spill one drop. Your line breaks
rattle even my broken windows. Ghosts love
your essential jokes. Your breath makes
the sound of my own footsteps arriving
at the shadow of twelve open doors.
Your first drafts are like god’s drool.
Your spirit like sugared conchas.
Your stare solid as the intention
of my grandma Delfina’s last breath.
Your confusion each star shaking
its crystal tambourine. Your line breaks
my bones with rhythm. Your poems,
the silence the dead and just born leave.
Your interior is akin to warp speed.
Your poems like expensive, suede jumpsuits
I would like to dress my heart up in.
It would take a million deaths
of every flower alive to make me stop
loving you. It would take the disappearance
of every broken rock, every grain of sand,
every elegant finger on every woman.
It would take the horns of every oldie ballad,
every Tower of Power song, the police breaking
up every backyard barbeque ever, every one
of my mouths run dry, my mother’s luscious voice
collapsing to make me not look for you again
My Name Disappears from the Script
My name was given in the middle of a night
black as the back of my grandmother’s knees:
joints burn in my parent’s hands—one end
to another—and smoke weaves them together
on the hood of a car—
because I like to dream people up
the way I want them.
Because I am a girl with a car that barely runs,
a girl with long hair, a girl with short hair,
a girl who cannot make up her mind, a girl who cries
during commercials where families sit around
a dinner table, who looks away. A girl
with mismatched boobs. A girl who’s never loved her dogs,
who talks to her parents like children.
A girl who drinks too much. And my feet hurt.
So I dream myself up behind this bar
and make you black sangrias.
I talk too much—I say my name.
I mix all the racket—who I want to be, who I am:
no wife, no absent mother, no child
of mine will ever be threatened, no woman’s
spitting image, no man’s model of love,
no one’s daughter, no one’s daughter,
no one’s daughter.
God is still asleep and this
is her drunk & dreaming.
I want to be gone
before she wakes up.
If the name is a spirit, then Sara is the absence—
of Abraham or anyone’s wife
or the obligation to the story
that God gets drunk on
and retells on lonely nights.