the sum 

I am the sum of all my mistakes 

a lingering feeling of regret 

washes over centuries of my bloodlines 

I am the native, the colonist, the savage, 

the imperialist, the immigrant, the slave, 

the forman, the lord, the worker bee, the 

plantation itself 

growing from bloodied weeds.

My children will likely be light skinned and privileged like my great grandfather, James 

Or they will not exist at all 

If I spend one more night teetering at the edges of relief 


I remember the smell of roasted corn in the evenings 

and tortillas burning my fingers 

I can’t feel the tips of them anymore 

I can’t feel the ravaged happiness of my earth

There is only the confusion,

the conundrum 

What and where and who and how 

And will it ever be more? 

– sheila c. 


saturday in the foyer 

“don’t be this way”

he said. 

I am pumping blood 

but I’m not sure I am alive

i cower under life’s thumb 

more than often than not

and it is nonsense that drives my spirit 

a dream sequence from a movie 

that will never be made 

whatever propelled me forward

for 30 years and some months 

has been exhausted 

or contained 

or both. 

i am humbled by your ability to love

so fully, so wholly 

a person so flawed 

and repaired over a lifetime 

many lifetimes, it seems 

i am humbled 

but not ready 

and i am sure i will regret it 

in time 

– sheila c. 

current events 

I can’t be bothered with current events 

that shit is too depressing 

I’m not meant for sinking 

or slinking and yet 

I’m brown and under dressed 

like melted caramel in the cup holder 

who knows how it got there 

but by golly John, now we have to clean it up 

is abrasion a colonial term? 

alongside barbarism? 

am I sanded down version of who I could have been 

with lanterns for eyes and a fish hook 

for a mouth 

I don’t know 

I’m not sure 

I don’t think any of us know 

we’re only guessing 

we’re only guests of borrowed 

and burrowed terms 

– sheila c. 


I just wanted to talk

about the bauhaus

but he had the arch

of my back in mind

he said some saccharine


some bullshit lines

it’s always like lemon juice

squeezed in my eyes

and honestly,

I’d rather fall asleep

with ghostly indents

and a pillow clenched

in my thighs

– sheila cordova

beach honda

I hope the buildings swallow me
and spit me out on the boardwalk
I hope I crawl towards what we call
and old
I think I am an octopus with 8 legs
and 8 souls
and they all wanna be a lady who crotchets

the radio is laughing at me
I was yelling in the crowd
not that long ago

the uber driver
can smell tobacco
from my broken nail
and swim suit

i left so much sand in the back seat
he called his honda
the beach

– sheila c.

blue lit dream 

I have a blue lit dream of you.

you are cackling bent over the tatters

of a tire

calling me “puddin pop”.

I detest it

and you laugh so hard

your knees buckle.

I shut my mouth tight

and grit my teeth through a smile.

your hands are open

on my thighs

and I rest my head

on the crane of your neck.

we are stranded on the 1-10.

I bore this place in the back

of a diner.

I imagined it the way you imagine

your lungs oxygenating blood

as you’re running,

platelets swelling up

and such.

you have taught me

i can paint a picture with ache,


and yearning.

– sheila c.