They Chopped Down the Tree I Used to Lie Under and Count Stars With

Diana Marie Delgado

I tape a red telephone to its ear so that the fetus appears to be speaking to someone.

“Write about a time when you were forced to do something you didn’t want to.”

The man from the dairy, dick in both hands, like it’s a bottle of champagne.

I follow a nurse into a room lined with cots, wearing paper-blue slippers.

The doctor: “Want to know what it is?”

“Look into the picture, see yourself before any of this happened.”

I dream, I tell Marcos, of combat; weapons, when I reach down, appear.

I Jet Ski over pudding, cross a river of chocolate cake, order pizza on the moon.

A car window rolls down: “Sabes hablar español?”

“One day you’ll think of men and it will be like looking at a gray wall.”

Doesn’t “embarrassed” sound like “embarazada” in Spanish?

The phone rings, it’s the devil—I forgot to tie up the dog.

Overheard in Mexico: “What’s a girl with seven brothers?”

On General Hospital, Luke raped Laura, then they fell in love.

Inside the trunk of the Impala, clubs and maces.

I’m in the car kissing a boy below a streetlamp vibrating with moths.

I pretend to lie in sand, be part ocean, dust from a candy cigarette.

Spanish feels like eating roses sprinkled with lime; English, peeling potatoes, barefoot.

A wedding party on the church steps; Dad, passing, honks: “Suckers!”

Grandpa, putting money in my hands: “Ride that bike like the wind.”

“When you see yourself is there an observer?”

A boyfriend: “You blacked out and we had sex to calm you down.”

“Your pussy’s like a clamshell it closes like a purse.”

I rode through the stars, through streets where the wind talked to everyone.

Savage birds called out and I looked up and listened.

Diana Marie Delgado grew up in Southern California. A recipient of a 2017 NEA poetry fellowship, she attended Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn.