Three Poems//Roy G. Guzmán




The heart can only lament in cuneiform. Blunt

carvings on a clay tablet, which, independent

of their malformations, settle on the material


                  for anachronistic scrutiny. The heart

in prefix—like a warrior’s sharpened teeth

around the necks of the enemy.

Boot prints on plantain leaves; Morse code

of spears for the unquenchable defeat—

            hypotenused, stiff.


A temple of orchids

                     overlooks a mass grave of temples,

                     as two figures flee from each other

because they are what’s left of sustenance.

Hearts on chapped lips;

                      sun’s inversions. The archeologist

disinters the tablets—telling his therapist

                                        it’s the rocks he’s after.

















On our first dates, I drag his body

aimlessly across damaged cornfields.


A returning heartbeat could fester a romance.


We head out to the industrial

sector of the city, our preferred hangout

spot to growl at each other


lines from Law & Order, Great Expectations

anything by Eliot or David Foster Wallace.


Inside chicken coops,

before the bus arrives, I inject him

with massive transfusions of false recollections.


Fellow passengers on the bus envy me.

He barks at them, & they feed him glances.


As we sit at the churrascaria, he drools

on his Christmas sweater over another

ripped divorcé—a war survivor, this time.


My boyfriend hunts

for casualties in the restroom,

as the waiter decants holy water in my glass.


I squeeze shards between my palms of his broken moon

for the werewolves to remember.


When death returns from the restroom,

he pulls out a credit card ridden with maggots—

asks the server if they accept

American Express or Discover.


Try killing a flesh-eating man-shadow

& the patriarchy will hurl him back to life


in your poems. He will thank Jesus

for the Last Supper. He will linger

long after decomposition.


I confidently carve holes in his chest

without his attention for detail:


Holes in the shape of cruise ships to the Bahamas.

Holes like family

reunions in Nevada.


In every cavity of his body

I place reminders of who I am—

he won’t read them.


As we promenade home from the movies,

after catching a flawed remake of a classic,


the moon sheds its clinical

surveillance over our skins.


There will be sequels, he gripes

the last time I understand him.


On his dead lap, I plant sesame

seeds before resting my head. A fly

buzzes inside our bedroom.


The dead, too, can wish to die anew.

















                  A plane crashes into a bike. The front part of the bike lands in a river; the back, in

a desert of glass. No one survives.


                  The clouds swarmed the sky like emerald cobras. The gray choked

                                     on our prayers for rain.


                  I would relinquish my thousand masks

                  to seal the pits in my mother’s smile.


                                      Near the site of the crash, a vulture perches on a desiccated branch.

                                                                                                                                                           By sundown,


both collapse into ash.

Roy G. Guzmán is a Honduran-born, American poet whose work will appear or has appeared in Notre Dame Review, Drunken Boat, The Acentos Review, Cartridge Lit, and NonBinary Review. He is the poetry editor at Sundog Lit. Trace his remains on Twitter: @dreamingauze.