Dorsía Smith Silva ~ Four Poems

In Memory of the Blue Girl Sahar Khodayari

it is not a dou­ble-dog dare
to see this wide-eyed world anchored by
hat tricks between men in Iran
the bright blue branched wig and ochre over­coat cannot
shield your hushed hurry
you criss­cross the arena’s entrance
but there’s a plot twist in per­ma­nent marker
guards with thick-bod­ied hands can­cel your metaphors

you would rather burn than come to a full stop
your echo strikes the landscape
with a path that par­al­lels hurt



In between the ZOOM meetings
and the children’s online classes,
she had a tiny feet of minutes
to skip out the porch door
and slip into the garden,
framed with sea­soned teeth
of recao, ajíes, and yautía.
When will the prologue
with sweet squeals begin?
Somewhere, while her toes collide
with caked dirt as they search
for word­less holes
to spill the 114,215+ deaths
over orphaned ground.
She wants to dis­card the misery
that grows taller every week
and pinch the bill collectors
until they until become a quick end,
in no need of more explication.
She set­tles into her chair
like a cur­tain of topiaries
and builds a world of fiction,
where she will sleep soundly,
and seep into pure quiet.


The Neighbors

It was sup­posed to be for just one hour. Mrs. Duncan
had some­where to go and she need­ed some­one to
watch the fresh-faced boy. Why did my moth­er volunteer?
We hard­ly knew them. Maybe a mod­est side-glance passing
by the stairs, but cer­tain­ly there were no throaty hel­los by
the mail­box. He’ll be no trou­ble at all, but I know when an
adult tea­spoon-feeds lies. He broke my favorite toy and ate
the last red Skittle in a swing of min­utes. Jack George. I
want­ed to slow claw him like I do with my clemen­tines, but
there would be too many ringlet­ted ques­tions. How about we
do some­thing inter­est­ing? Let’s play dancer. Spin, pirouette,
kick­ball chain, jazz hands, pop and lock. Your body lifts like
stirred fire­flies. Your shirt floats to flash a band of abdomen.
There’s a gar­den of red pol­ka dots, some picked scar­let and
con­densed into scars. Where did you get those? The moment
goes dry. A knock on the door. A small-eared farewell like
melt­ing sugar.


The Weight of Centering

Do not ask me why the tears unfold
like but­ter­cups. Even though it has
been nine years since we buried you,
I still feel the high-rise curb of wet-eyed
promis­es: that you did not teach me
how to plant hol­ly­hocks or gulp spilled
air on the pil­lion. Instead, you taught me
how to lynch­pin wis­te­rias and drop bubbles
on my tongue. But, it was you that tucked
pho­tos by the front door like loose hairs to
remind me that every place has an exit. It was
you that gripped me ver­ti­cal and said know
your self-por­trait. So do not ask me about
the red stip­pling of grief. It’s like ask­ing why
gray leaves fall with­out a promise, why
the moon has thumbprints of dark matter.
It’s because but­ter­flies do not fly in a straight
line. It’s because blood oranges sprout pruned
skin. It’s because tec­ton­ic plates force everything
to shift. It’s because, it’s because, it’s just because.


Dorsía Smith Silva is a Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Her poet­ry has been pub­lished in sev­er­al jour­nals and mag­a­zines in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, includ­ing Portland Review, Mom Egg Review, Stoneboat, Apple Valley Review, Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice, Moko Magazine, and else­where. She is also the edi­tor of Latina/Chicana Mothering and the co-edi­tor of six books. She is cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing her first poet­ry book.