photo by richard lee miller
Emily Fernandez is a professor at Pasadena City College where she teaches composition and creative writing. Her poetry chapbook, Procession of Martyrs, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018, and she was recently selected to be a 2020 Moving Arts MADlab playwright. Visit her website at
A canyon between my eyes,
a valley, deepened and lengthened,
from back when I was seven
Sores covered my body,
on eyelids, inside my nose,
between my toes,
down my throat and
in my ears.
Breathless, blind and mute,
I slept for days
and fevered sweat.
One morning I stood like St. Sebastian
before my mother's camera
draped in a sheet, pixeled with blood
because we were in a place where pity
made us laugh the laughter
that always come last,
straight from the belly, absurdly
and hot with tears.
Then I healed, and a small pockmark
like a dry lake stayed between my brow,
and in my thirties it grew.
Deforming, informed with worry,
and the never spoken sorry,
the anticipation that fell
into the gulf of wakeful nights
and the squint from sunlit days,
until it became like a trench
where two brows converge:
the subduction of love and loss.
Now, in the mirror, pulling the skin
on my forehead tight and then releasing
the crease to its permanent fold,
I try to imagine out of humor,
or pity, that the pock is now a canyon,
that I should stand at the edge of
and take in with hot tears
like a tourist
before a world, cracked,
and full of wonder.
The Ex: A Novel
Usually I go about my day
Then, I freeze
how I abandoned you
mid-sentence, no denouement:
the catharsis of completion.
It's not like I didn't give ten years,
fill up every cell in my brain,
my soul, with the heavy of you:
your voice, your rhyme,
the scenes and times compacted
between the punctuation.
My blood mixed in the words,
(There were moments of ecstasy,
We forced ourselves into structures,
both of us changing the other,
rearranging our plots and passions
to meet a dream halfway.
We got close.
(Maybe you were further
than my eyes would let me see.)
But it was that last part
where I had to make you
burn you down to perfection
that I finally lost
the heart (my art!)
and rashly pushed delete.