I heard a famous poet once say that they were tired of hearing poems about ghosts and trees and light and water—they wanted to hear something original for once.
But my life is a phantom wound. Or is that too cliché?
Let me start again: I am haunted by men who took my youth away. They appear in my dreams, turn them shock-blue burying bliss into nightmarish glow.
Sorry, they aren’t ghosts, none of them are dead yet.
I like trees. I hate an ocean at night. What am I supposed to live for if not the light?
I see a translucent boy touch me in my thoughts every night.
A man is not a man, is a boy, but isn’t a boy, is queer, is femme, wants to be a god. But first must die, but then, will haunt the home and what will the grandmother say?
I hear a coo and a moan, a bellow of bruise, a chalky frame, a thin-gray figure moving gracefully through a battered-brown hall, like if this is all for naught, what did any poet teach me that hadn’t been taught before?
I heard a famous poet once say they were tired of hearing about trees and water and ghosts, they wanted something new.
I fucked a minotaur in Croatia. I slept with a lizard in December. I name every lover after an animal or monster, a taste or a touch, an imprint after they’re gone, much like a ghost, but not a ghost, something much more tangible and here and present and not a ghost—not a ghost.
-- Mateo Perez Lara (he/him/they) is a queer latinx originally from Bakersfield, California. He received his B.A. in English at CSU Bakersfield. He is currently working on his M.F.A. in Poetry at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA. His poems have been featured in Orpheus, EOAGH, Empty Mirror, and The New Engagement. He is an editor for RabidOak online literary journal & Zoetic Press.