Fall 2008

Table of Contents - Vol. IV, No. 3


Poetry    Translations    Fiction    Essays   

Sergio Ortiz


The Idiot

Myshkin, what is in a name, or a diamond?
I talked to a poor man, he saw the puddles
of my thirst and offered an orange.
I turned to look at a mango tree
cooling a wave in the middle of the ocean,
its roots were knotted.

The snow, dear Myshkin, the snow
at my nape, behind my shoulders,
behind every part of the back of my body,
is melting, but I don't feel warmth any closer.
What is in a snow flake?

I want you to drown my name in a river,
Myshkin. Drown the sound
of each letter until they are

river blue.


Before Darkness/A Trilogy


We decided to hunt for butterflies
on the other side of the fence,
between old statues of father,
in overgrown grass,
the place he keeps his untamed calf.

Rolling towards the pit,
(where civets harvest musk,
and the sky gives way to night)
was father's code to play,
the list of sanctions
too long for me to write.

We put our catch in glass jars.
Pushed, touched, and joked
in such a way as not to break
my father's code. But in the end
you kissed another man.


They rested on the shoulders
of statues. He said they perfumed
summer with a kind of musk.

We took the beautiful ones
out of the jar, pierced with a pin
and let them dry. The ministry

of their wings kept us awake.
We disappeared to the other side
of the fence where father

kept the untamed calf. He unbuttoned
my pants. I didn't care, father had been dead
for years, dead and all I wanted
was another kiss.


Father's code was the magnet:
his classical order,
control, synthesis, rules.
Half a statue, was what was left.
Half a pasture, half a fence.

I was ten and a half
on the day of the magnet,
his untamed calf.
He was half a year older
and never quite faithful.

Aunt Enriqueta would read us
stories of houses that made noises,
--padam padam padam--
dogs' eyeballs slit
with half

a razor.
It was rainbows on butterfly wings,
and the scent of musk
we found in a kiss

and I do believe in you and you in me.
We've been together for half a century.
Now, give this old man one last kiss.


© Sergio Ortiz



Poetry    Translations    Fiction    Essays   

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