Aboard the Transport Tesoro

At three a.m. my ribs ache
as if molten iron
pools into and over
the symbols etched in bone.
I cradle these calcium bars
that embrace
my lungs, my heart,
your soul.
Please, Bisabuela,
sea paciente.
Fighting only tightens
this curving, gaping cage
and wounds us both.
Would you salt
the valleys of my face?
Would you slit the silence
of three a.m. with screams?
If you escaped,
could you swim the vacuum
that surrounds this huddled craft,
the chasm deeper than death?
Sleep then, Bisabuela,
so I may sleep as well.
Soon I’ll kneel in Texas soil,
soon disgorge your ghost
amidst bouganvillea and prickly pear
gone wild in the garden
from which our clan dispersed.
Soon, I swear,
your line will be a circle.

(Editors’ Note: “Aboard the Transport Tesoro” is read by Amal El–Mohtar in the Uncanny Magazine Podcast, Episode 7B.)

Lisa M. Bradley

Lisa M. Bradley writes everything from novels to haiku, usually with a speculative slant inflected by her Latinidad. Her debut novel, Exile, depicts a young woman’s desperate attempts to escape the street wars of her quarantined hometown (Rosarium Publishing, July 2019). Her short fiction and poetry appear in numerous venues, most recently Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Anathema, and Rosalind’s Siblings. In addition to being Poetry Editor for Uncanny’s special issue Disabled People Destroy Fantasy, she is the coeditor, with R.B. Lemberg, of Climbing Lightly Through Forests, a poetry anthology in tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin (forthcoming from Aqueduct Press). She is also a maternal-looking Murderino, the most dangerous kind. Follow her—if you dare!—on Twitter (@cafenowhere) or check out her website: lisambradley.com.

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