Three Poems

David Joez Villaverde


One holds one or one holds none, however you suss out meaning. There is a lone albatross circling the parking lot. Again I find myself in the kitchen holding my stomach in disgust, ignoring the want echoing up from deep. Is lust greater than hunger? I don’t want to know. I often find myself saying that all I want is to be seen, to be held, stellated in a pretty mirror, or whatever mirror I can afford. Outside my window oil derricks bob erotically, ceaselessly. There is banging on the walls but I am alone. Closed.

Again the
rumble. Never any regard for my sidereal wants. My refrigerator asks for impossible things, to be filled and then shut, like a pelican’s bill, or mitral valve; to have enough energy to burn away the darkness when saying hello. And still I am grumbling from the bedroom, teething cigarettes and spreading the last crumbs on the sheets with palmless hands. Dogs bark at no one, neighbors go unseen, these tireless bellyaches continue. Still I pilot this scow of trash through late capitalism, sallying forth, in search of an antagonist to color my books white, give meaning to my suffering. Am I that different from you? Is it wrong to want enough bread for fingers to tread on? A woman who hits me—writes me missives on stationery crowned with rosettes of blood? Is this too much to ask? All I want is to have enough to want more, more than attendant needs, condiment sandwiches. To not be gulled by the chyrons scrolling across my windows. Again I return to grievance, as if the powers that govern my life ask for justification. Heavy is the gut that eats the crown. All this privilege squandered on a vista of paint boiling on tar. There is much I elide, but I am too hungry, and we are tragically hurtling towards the future. Do any of these seabirds mean anything? Do I? Do you?
I don’t want to know. I just want to be held, seen. The tired gull finally descends, alights on a­ lamppost, a sea of asphalt abound. Pumpjacks thrust deep into night. The neon flickers: OPEN

∞, Arizona

for Lizzie Seagle

—like coins of light dancing on the Sabino
in morning bounty, tannin steeped
from weeping blue oak, the dun imbrued
cascades eddying, winding past proud
spires of saguaro, sea of sagebrush, sumac,
sycamore. Today, no bighorn along the
switchback, just carillon of manzanita
cantillating lazily in the dawn. The scent
of creosote singeing off the skin of the
Sonora in ancient song. A whispered truth.
This breath purling, arcing over brittlebrush
and through all. Everything now illumed in this
cantle of heaven; crescent cottonwood, stubborn
cholla, life coursing, swelling through dale.
20 years from now, I will forget the ocotillo,
the Spanish bayonet bordering the trace, I will
only remember windows down in the rental
wind lashing your hair, your eyes—

The Continuum Hypothesis

for Hilary Thornhill Chapman


When you told me
one infinity can be greater than another
I didn’t understand that
the living can never apologize to the dead
I didn’t understand that
there are roads we know the ends to
and roads we do not


When you bought the book


penned by one of Hemingway’s grandsons intent on turning his name into actionable cash,


you were thinking of me, you were
thinking of how much I’d enjoy a book
about my favorite authors and their
favorite drinks, only to have me
scream, with papal authority, that
Hunter S. Thompson’s favorite drink
was not Chivas Regal, and that not
only was this an editorial oversight on
their part but a character flaw of yours


It didn’t hurt that much when you returned the book that I’d never receive and it didn’t hurt that much when you hung up the phone without saying I love you and it didn’t hurt that much when you left me because I knew that I was right and I knew that you loved me and I knew that you would always exist
a breath
a phone call


Now things are as you wanted,
all of your secrets are your own,
your brother is back in school
& your birthday is still August 2nd
even without you

Walls continue, upright
into joists, out of view
history retains a certain symmetry
when everyone forgets

I never told you
I never told anyone
I lost the books
Kate gave away
at your service
in the back seat of a cab
somewhere in Greenpoint

the infinite is as Kate said
a hole so deep
we don’t know when,
if ever,
we will get out

David Joez Villaverde is a Peruvian American multidisciplinary artist living in Detroit, Michigan. He is the winner of the Black Warrior Review's 2018 poetry contest. His poems in Crab Fat Magazine and L'Éphémère Review are 2018 Best of the Net nominees. He has been recently published in Yemassee, RHINO Poetry, The Indianapolis Review, and Yes Poetry. Visit him at



Editor's Letter