I Do Not Go Away

by Alberto Ríos

Alberto Rios

You have terror and I have tears.
In this cruel way, we are for each other.
We are at war. You always win.
But I do not go away.
You shoot me again. Again, I do not go away.
You shoot with bullets, but you have nothing else.
I fight back. I shoot you
With fragments of childhood, where you played the hero.
I shoot you with memories of your mother
And your little sister, Maritza.
I shoot you with spring in the rolling mountains
And the taste of plantain bananas and sugar.
You do not fall down dead?
You can kill me, where all I can do
Is hold up the mirror of remembering to you?
The mirror of everything you have done.
You set fire to me with gasoline.
I set fire to you with the memory of your first love.
You cut my hands off. I cut your hands off
With the way you saw them disappear
When he was diving into the warm water of the lake,
The summer of swimming with your brother.
Do you remember the names of the left-for-dead?
The damaged, the hounded, the hurt?
Do you remember my name?
Your fist is hard.
My name is crying.
You strike a match.
My name is cringe.
You lift your foot.
My name is pain.
You wake up.
My name is closed eyes.
Your smile mimics the size of the opening
On the side of a head, a crude opening
That a mean needle will stitch up tonight.
Your arm laughs at me with its muscle.
All this. All these tears you have made,
This water you have found in the desert,
All this blood you have drawn
From the bodies of so many who needed it.
You win. You have always won.
All I can do is not go away.
Not go away is my name.

Last updated November 21, 2022