Carlos Andrés Gómez

Elegy for the Longest Year

I would wake up just before dawn & try
to escape the teasing light, my defiant body
somehow still above ground & pulsing

while the pavement watched. I never ran 
anywhere. I always ended up at the same 
place. But I would return, always then, anyway

battered by the sharp wind to a mausoleum 
of stacked & scattered cardboard boxes 
that rarely had the chance to collect any

dust. Everything I loved was temporary. 
It was the morning Tío was killed & 
I sat at the top of the stairs of my attic 

bedroom. You had twins on the way, Papi, 
& I held a calendar that mapped a path 
from the sadness & claimed it as my 

home. I am a father now counting the days 
until my child turns fourteen. My wife calls 
it the year that does not end. We are not waiting 

for anything, she tells me, not failure or death 
or whatever is to come.
                                                      Papi, how do I become 
half the man you are & not the man you were?

Carlos Andrés Gómez is a Colombian American poet and the author of Hijito (Platypus Press, 2019), winner of the 2018 Broken River Prize. Winner of the Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, Gómez’s writing has been published in New England Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape (Simon & Schuster, 2012), and elsewhere. For more: Twitter/Instagram: @CarlosAGLive