The Poetry of Carolina Hospital


Summer has arrived.

The pickups pull up along the road,

beds full of mangoes,

the cardboard signs resting against the metal wall.

Across the street, Jorge's trees entice us,

their branches heavy with the dangling fruits.

I line up dozens on the kitchen counter,

so many, sometimes the orange crimson turns black

and the house fills with a pungent odor

like the one growing up,

on those cool shaded sidewalks

deep in dark slippery skins torn from the flesh.

I love to peel one after another

until my nails turn orange

and not even lime can remove the scent.

The pulp squeezes through my fingers

as I slice the thickness into the glass bowl.

Before I toss out the seed,

I close my eyes.

I suck at the remaining flesh,

the juices trickling down my chin,

so sweet,

I'm sure it's me

tasting the milk of paradise.
A Poem of Thanks

              for Carlos

The phone awakens me.

Her voice so familiar calling me from sleep

becomes an aching chorus of angels

proclaiming I will be fine.

I do not tell her

that I have forgotten

how to use the future tense,

that what I want is to lie

still beneath the rains.

She calls me a survivor

but I know I have not been to the front

nor languored in a dark basement

nor a rancid cell.

Before the mirror what remains

is an echo of an infant's lips sucking

warm sweet milk

from a body that was once whole.

I look away.

I feel the darkness close around me.

It cannot be put out.

Then he enters, quietly.

He lights a small candle beside me.

He slowly combs the knots out of my tangled hands

and cleanses the scar across my broken breast.

My body grows limp like a dying child.

His grasp forms a circle around me.

I bind myself to him.

I invoke his name.

I find my reflection restored in his eyes

and I understand.

Human love cannot be measured

but in the depth of God.

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