Poetry Issue 3

   Issue#3: April - June 2003

Conchitina Cruz



The table shook. It was a choice                                 “Give me your hand,” the

                                                                                    fortune teller said to me.              

between the open door


and the glass of water.





 I needed an excuse; I took my wine glass


to the kitchen. Nobody told me


to do the dishes.


The basin of water reeked of fish.






He said: “The sea coughed up a year’s worth              According to the fortune

teller, I should guard myself

of corpses. When I called it an accomplice,                 against my own stupidity

                                                                                    Give me anything and I will

its waves crept up to my feet,                                      drink it.           


licking them clumsily. So intense, it seemed,


was its desire to be forgiven.





The locked door could not subdue


their drunken laughter. Nothing could be done


about the smell of fish;


I scrubbed my arms and the bathwater


shook my face to pieces.




What is a mirror but water that refuses to budge?       I wanted to smash the tattoo

                                                                                    of a butterfly on her wrist.




The earth shook. Somebody dreamt


of a bowl of fruit, somebody asked


for water. The night was a single wail


of a siren.





I wanted to hear about cops and hoses.                       She bored me with the

                                                                                    details of my past. She

He said: “Can I tell you instead about the time                       called me names that

                                                                                    couldn’t hurt me.

I lived away from the sea.”





After the bath, I signed my name                                She said her tattoo was

                                                                                    “her lucky fish.”

on the glass. I wanted to see the city


through my clumsy script, but my breath


erased every opportunity.





The loaves, the fish, the water-into-wine.                   I asked the fortune teller if I

                                                                                    could spend the night on her

In every story, there must be room                              couch. I was afraid to sleep;

                                                                                    the sirens outside her

for the sea.                                                                   window soothed me.





They slept like corpses on the carpet.


Wearing nothing but a towel,


I stepped over their bodies


and reached for a glass.






It was water that killed him.                                        “Drink,” she said.


They drowned him in a bucket


because he never said a word.