heidi andrea restrepo rhodes

ay mujer. 

shall we be two old men lost in yesterday

one of us dead long ago

arriving to each other’s dreams

to spell out the lumbered years 

& intervening miles

how we called each other’s names

in their most tragic forms

how it pleases me to vex you             my fallen head my face in yours

any absence on my tongue a limit     a body then      we see a body wracked

a putrefaction of my chaos                 by profit’s mighty greed          its wicked martyring

                                                              what is it you hear in the quiet blood

                                                              its most silent corners

                                                                                                                      tell me

tell me what you’ve lost

tell me how it went                              tell me you wanted me    say it

                                                               in the space between every line

                                                               of the letters you began with a dismembered 


             or simply           querido

in your saddest time     or in the time

that sketches our demise          remember 

how I called out to you

to bring you some of my paganism

to tilt the spoon of medicine    sea salt

forget the beastly chill                let me

help you remember                                      (we will

              light a fire                                                                        we will be a fire)

                                                                         as you help me remember

                                                                         how to invent marvelous wonders

in the forest of sounds       fractal peregrin

                                                                         swoops of blue sky      or

wings my palette, every color of my want

racing the thiefly waterclock

                                                                         how I do want the sweetness too      your honey

                                                                         your wax & how

to read the poem you never finished

biting my knuckles to distract

my astronomical heart                                  your body is an alveolus & you my only ode

                                                                        how my ambition reaches for the sun’s molten glow

                                                                        for the glorious bodies that should repeat themselves

                                                                        at dawn            wild stems & their flowering

from the bullet              the hardened

diadem of blood at your temple

floral & unmarked

                                                                          but you are a moon who offers

                                                                          your reflection               saying

I cannot leave a rose then

to say what needs be said

but know

                                                                          none of us are the source of our own light

                                                                          that is why we need each other 

the crimson grave I painted 

for you once    will remain my offering

the bloom & gasp

                                                                           your light is still in my throat

of our improbable forms

                                                                           part your lips    let me shine

                                                                           it back into you


heidi andrea restrepo rhodes

is a queer, Colombian/Latinx poet and scholar from California. Her first poetry collection, The Inheritance of Haunting (University of Notre Dame Press, 2019) was selected by Ada Limón for the 2018 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. She is a doctoral candidate in Political Theory at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her poetry has been seen in publications such as Poetry, Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Split this Rock, Raspa, and Nat.Brut. She currently lives in Brooklyn, and can be found on instagram at: @vessels.we.are