prayers

I think about my grandmothers prayers

under a sunburst ceiling

it was an old blood color

sort of red brown and muddied

I think she wanted my freedom

and god couldn’t see another way

I clearly can’t give life

I’m all dead leaves inside

a manufactured product

of a man who did not hold me

i can’t use your god’s tools

they were never meant for me

– Sheila Cordova

blueness

i know i can’t fit you

in a glass

but boy,

i try

i spend the days measuring you

hanging on your tongue

inhaling your tone

you’re a language

i remember from

another life

you speak to something

lost in me

something I alone

couldn’t find

i drink you slowly

i take you in

like time

my pulse quickens

but my mind softens

underneath you

under you

you are the minute

before sunset

when the day glows

just so

and pink covers

the blinding blueness

that I’ve known

– sheila c

untitled 10.29.17

what heals time?

if time is what heals us? 

Is that a stupid question? 

I look at my watch 

and my arms follow the tick 

and honestly 

I’m actually full of ticks 

I fiddle with my fingers 

and I stroke the keyboard 

like a cat 

I don’t have a pet 

I can’t handle the commitment of long term care 

my fern plant can survive with a glance 

once a  week 

and the paintings only stare back 

if I focus 

i pour my glasses full and heavy 

like the darkness of 1 am 

and the lightness of noon 

I try to find kindness in the cruelty 

of mankind 

and I see it in the innocence of palm 

trees swaying in storms

and I have seen it in the cloud 

that swims past our existence 

sometimes my thighs shake 

and I see god 

but he quickly fades away 

and I wonder if the love we feel is more like 

a thin coating that our eyes can bear 

sort of like the net separating our mortality 

and the ending that defines us 

lord, I hope I find the kindness 

before the net bursts 

and i am silence. 

– sheila cordova 

bones 

the spine trails

i miss the spine trails

your finger up the bones

that made me

every night

I was never an object

but the object

of your affections

your rejections

a sign outside

it burned through the night

i don’t understand how neon

works

if it even does

work

voicemails can’t convey

what I have been

ruminating

for weeks

i can be quick

i can be lucky

i know it,

i know it, babe

we are a Monday

reminiscing  the Sunday

that we lost

– sheila c

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 

Quiet. 

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. 

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,

pulse,

and yearning.

– sheila c.

it is

listen,

there is a song

i want you to hear

but you’ll need

to press your hand

here.

 

I understand that

it was never ideal.

that i am not

exactly

what you wanted.

 

but i have tried

(sometimes)

in vain

to hold your

sadness

in my space

 

where it can’t

reach you

 

this is

different.

 

this is the last

thing

i will give you

 

it is a slow hum

the first time

i noticed

sweat build

on your brow

transparent

triangles

sitting

in the crevices

in the creases

of poppy skin.

 

it is rounded

almonds

for lips

that laugh

too often

and say so

little

but keep

my neediness

at bay

 

it is my

body

but it is

not

because all bodies

decay

 

it is the way

i have loved

you

in short

and long

draws of breath

 

it is the time

in philadelphia

where i decided

you were my home

and the earth was

wrecked

but it was fine.

 

it was all fine.

 

as long as

you and i

were ok.

 

– sheila c

utilities 

the electricity has gone off 

there was a surge in the building.

I  followed the wave 

and saw it take the lights.

right now, 

I’m hiding in the restroom 

wondering if I should text you 

wondering if you wonder about me 

when your utilities fail too. 

– sc