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Puerto del Sol

Weirding it up since 1964.

Puerto del Sol is funded by New Mexico State University and the Mercedes Delos Jacobs Fund, and designed and operated by the students of the MFA in Creative Writing program.

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Election Day

August 4, 2017

 

Cordoba, Argentina 

 

If we woke to water rot,  

fallen oak crossbeam  

bisecting the breakfast table, 

 

a nest of ants shattered  

like a chandelier on tile,  

I could hardly fault the architect.  

 

They eat insulation, hollow  

out the roof, bring water  

and mountain cold with them. Each day  

 

this month passes between  

a condor’s beak, strings  

hours with a sewing needle. 

 

The shopkeeper sells beef milanesa  

by the yard, our neighbor’s bee 

son pisses in his lover’s bed  

 

and for the third time  

blames the dog. Tio Carlos  

keeps saying, “honesty  

 

is a jail cell, crooks the wardens,”  

as election ads preen television screens 

with images of grandmothers, 

 

rolling Pampa. We feel ants  

crawl among the hairs  

on our ankles as he smokes  

 

two cigarettes in two minutes,  

kisses me on the cheek  

as if I were a toddler. We mark  

 

the calendar for every day  

the ants come back, tick today’s box,  

boil a pot of water  

 

to pour between the rafters,  

knowing full well  

of the damage the solution demands— 

 

how it smokes in spring  

like false fire on the tin.  

We each grip a pot  

 

with oven mitts. He climbs the ladder, 

“crooks the wardens,”  

under his breath. Boiling  

 

water rolls over the eaves  

like sheet glass. A thin line scorches  

a perimeter surrounding the house,  

 

as if slowly cutting us out  

of the country like a torn elbow patch,  

dead ants in lines.  

 

 

 

"Election Day" by Lucian Mattison is the winner of Puerto del Sol's 2016 Poetry Contest

 

Argentinean-US poet and translator, Lucian Mattison, is the author of two books of poetry, Reaper's Milonga (YesYes Books, forthcoming) and Peregrine Nation (Dynamo Verlag, 2017). His poetry, short fiction, and translations appear in numerous journals including Hayden's Ferry Review, Hobart, Muzzle, Nano Fiction, The Nashville Review, The Offing, and Waxwing. He currently works at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, and edits poetry for Big Lucks. Visit Lucianmattison.com

 

Image courtesy of Neil Moralee

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