Estan Rodriguez is a poet living in the United States. You can try
to find him birdwatching on Sunday mornings, but he walks
quietly and doesn't leave a trace.

Self-Portrait as Fatal Resonance

Shout it over and over again
into the mirror. Make it
rattle in the frame. I ripple
in my eyes— Narcissus's
despair. Me in the warped
shimmer off the bathroom
tiles, borrowed sunlight
broken like an old bridge
over Tacoma Narrows: holding
shapes of wind, asphalt skin
cracked along my length,
suspension failing in chords.

Thirst (Getting There)

The ache left footprints in the desert.
All because you, little boy, listened
too hard to a seashell, thought you heard
the ocean where you wanted it to be—
in your palm. You got one part right:
the ocean is a creature you can hold
if you fall in. The night is an oasis
if you are prone to killing yourself
for the sake of your skeleton. Baby teeth
don't count. You'll lose track if you try
the road. Give numbers to the dunes
you make: in their bone-white wanderings,
they tell you where you were already
on your way to dry coasts and rock salt.

How the Outside Kills From the Inside

This young man weighs less
than all the emails in his inbox.
A gold medal closes his throat.
He forgets how to eat sunshine
at regular intervals; he skips
meals. Words define him, carve
the cheekbone-caves where moths
take root. There he is, standing
in the pool with his shirt on,
your teeth through the fabric
to his ribs. A gaunt deer in the head-
lights. A lemming in the heart.
Your rumor that he jumped for nothing.

Backstage Soliloquy, Exit Left

A boy and his mom walked into the front
yard to see the lunar eclipse, left the front
door open, half in porchlight. Two shadows

streaked the orange glow of the halogen lamp
across the street. They didn't wave back
to the boy but they meant to. Blood freezing

across the moon's shawl of gray seas, the boy's two
hands were cold and tucked in his mother's
pocket. Love, givers and receivers, in binary

pairs: strangers, mom and son, sun and moon,
ticking by the quarter hour into their places
on center stage, two spotlights beaming

to overlapping circles where everything stood
with upward eyes— except for the slim-cut-off-
center crescents, dim exclusions from unity

bleeding light forgettably into the wood-
furnished platform: the cat, slinking past
two clasped hands to the lone storm drain;

the full moon after washing back to white
grandeur everyone's seen before, returning
boys and moms through yards, into houses

cold and missing cats.

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