after the park ritual in berlin 

I know the sun is coming for us 
I saw it try to mellow out 
over the horizon 
when we prodded at him
in a daze 

remember herren means boy 
and dammen means girl 
that is my only advice 
while I lay under your tiny 
body 
trying to recollect-
piece together a-
whatever this is 
when love and loss 
merge into some sort of 
coughing motion 
like expelling 
but inhaling 
im not sure 
I am sure but
if I could give you one gift 
I think it would be 
relevance 
the power of always 
I don’t think you are weak 
please never think
you are weak 
I think you are pure 
like the last row of curtains 
over a stage 
or perhaps a low key 
moon phase 
washing over 
a tide, 
I’m not certain.. 

– sheila cordova 
for Naya, you know why and when. 

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my hope for us*

I hope our love

is like your hands,

deftly cutting across

strings to make

breathing bellows.

I know you don’t think much

of your own virtues but

I carry them with me

in what we can’t call a soul.

 

I hope our love

is like your presence,

a sort of earthly calm

pierced with erratic passion

that I still can’t comprehend.

I know you don’t like the ocean

so you can be my island

and after swimming

I will find myself firmly

anchored to your shore.

 

Lastly, darling

I hope our love

is like your laughter

(easily my favorite thing).

I hope it resonates

in our darkest hours

and finds us sitting

quietly on a porch swing

under weeping live oaks

in everlasting spring.
 
– sheila cordova
 
 
 
* For Frankie, thanks for the hope you’ve brought to my little life. Happy Valentines Day.

it’s a sin

it’s hot like a shed in the blurry sun
the steering wheel’s been hoarding
heat
ready for your soft skin
you’re so forgetful
but I appreciate the melancholic
nature
of the cache you’ve sown
into your chest
with a pounding fist and
pulpy pulmonary trunk

i like drops of bitters
in my whiskey lemonade
because I think it masks the
taste of alcohol
and I like the taste
but I do not like the taste
not the way I like the sauna
not the way I like being perched
on your lips
and being drowned
in your muck

– sheila c

jellyfish 

spineless jellies 

get a bad rap, you know.

they just don’t care for war

or confrontation.

they’ve seen the vastness 

of the ocean 

and the pitch black

sequin night 

below the shifting 

shelves.
 

i want you to know 

that i thought my softness

was sinking 

and my will 

was decomposing 

i was a daft 

flowing 

mass in currents.
 

now i am from underneath

what you call “heaven”

and I call heaven

from underneath you.
 

– sheila c. 

with purpose

i think there are banana leaves

in my blood stream,

they float like makeshift canoes

into my arteries

and block the hope

the west has tricked me

into thinking I have earned.

i think i have corn husks

in my lungs

they fan the flames

of my discontentment

and they incite

a quiet violence in my throat.

lord, i think i was born screaming

in the jungle

and now I am choking

in the city

– sheila c

dragging 

dragging is a learned subject

like a soft feather floating inward

and outward with swift forward

feeling

I saw the gate open

but only slightly

and inside

everything was exactly as I wanted

but not really

the curse of blindness

is revealing

like the words that make our ceiling

 

I want to sound like me

but what am I?

I have no real voice or reason

like the song of something more

something else 

something before.

am I a sound?

like bells in the background

swinging, swung and sullen

I might be a sound. 
– sheila c.