Andrés Cerpa

Diaspora Poem

The dead rise in me –

their one or two gold teeth like distant armies

in the dusk.

Abuela is among them.

She hauls a cart that drips the first horse’s


My husband was haunted.

I did not protect the second child

but I saved what little I could for you & your sister’s


I will not let you smell this death wish

or return to the mountain of my birth.

Andrés Cerpa is the author of The Vault, longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award: Poetry, and Bicycle in a Ransacked City: An Elegy from Alice James Books. He was raised in Staten Island, NY.