Could be the cry of a dog
or a cartoon baby's mouth
open to a pink cave of tonsils,
the squiggle lines of an animator's pen
bursting from his bald head.
the blank drone you hear when
you dial out of the Casa Bella in Oaxaca,
or the bleat of dusty buses charging
streets alongside wagons dragged by mares.
In Mexico, it's boooos,
the slurred song of a beer-heavy ghost,
or the love charm Frida sang that lured
men and monkeys from the tamarind trees.
In Miami, Cuba, it's gua-gua,
the "w" sound of water brushed into a dream,
the war between why and wait.
the clipped cry from an imperfect memory,
a wish to travel in reverse to an island
shaped like a boomerang.
You can fling it as far as 90 miles and still
feel its edge in your hands.
- Emma Trelles, originally published in Tropicalia
Emma Trelles is the author of Little Spells (GOSS 183) and Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011), winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and a finalist for ForeWord Reviews/IndieFab poetry book of the year. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, PoetsArtists, The Best American Poetry anthology, Best of the Net, Verse Daily, The Rumpus, the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald and others. She is a poetry editor at MiPOesias and an arts writer. She also teaches creative writing, most recently at the Sanibel Island Writers Conference and at PINTURA/PALABRA, an ekphrastic writing project organized by Letras Latinas, the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. In 2013, she was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship in poetry from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. She lives with her husband in Santa Barbara, California, where she curates The Mission Poetry Series.