Desire Is A Federacy

After Monica de la Torre

of blood of wilting or willpower
wanting like pulling a sword from deep
Rainrainin a bloomed lily in any other life
would this
Rainrainhave been possible I mean you leaping
like the stag about to turn
Rainraininto a hundred sparrows me holding on
to you in case the fear alone keeps me
Rainrainfrom becoming sparrows
it didn’t come with instructionsRaithe sword I mean
Rainrainthe police haven’t killed anyone in a while
is something you’d say only if you have peace
Rainrainof mind which is to say
I don’tRainiI’m terrified of the god my mother asks
Rainrainto protect me what if I owe him
+ when they unearth us will the fear of debt be legible
Rainrainon our bones
I’m thankful for those moments I wake up
Rainrainbefore youRaiif the police kill me I hope
the last thing I accomplished is making
Rainrainyour coffee because I like how my hands feel
that early in the morningRainincapable of harm
Rainrainmiming tender acts of weather
instead like a lightning-struck senator
Rainrainthe closest I’ve come
to participating in faith
Rainrainwas believing that lightning strike
would help my neighbors sunrise
Rainrainsunflower sunset this is a dayRainif it looks like
all the ones before carrying us
Rainraingod knows where at least the dogwoods
will white and pink me perfect
Rainrainlike arrows some men only really see
what they’re about to killRainrileap high my love
Rainrainand know there’s not enough guilt
in ecclesiastes to demand the hungry
Rainrainattempt grace in their hunger
& what would a king blood-hemmed
Rainrainand sharp-sworded know
about starvingRainwanting the undaffodilled
Rainrainfield the sad mechanics of legislation
can makeRainraeven out here with all our shirts
Rainrainon the clothesline and our mothers
up to their elbows in the washtub
RainrainI’ve come with a petition
no one wants to sign like more
Rainrainswords in lilies thunderstorms
in every quiet dream you’ll have to wake
Rainrainup just to wring your hair outiifull
of the sweet rain smellRainrainluminous
Rainrainas the lake I tend to deep in shadow
where swans dip their throats and come up
RainraindreamingRaiiall the leaves giving in
to the wind at onceRiiiall the police dropping
Rainraintheir handcuffs over the bridge
and for it raising the water ever so lightly
Rainrainwe become light ourselvesIiiI define
salvation as never having to explain debt
Rainrainto a toddlerIiidrag us there and I’ll call
it homeRainraindrag us away from there and
Rainrainyou’ve learned something about
this country the blue kings burning
Rainrainan acre they could ownRainI keep
their ash in my heart like an inheritance
Rainriithe urn of meRiithe downside of not being
a daisy patch is all the language I’m expected
Rainrainto remember like glimmer as in
the gun glimmers and inevitably as in
RainrainI hope you’ll forgive me if I say I made a fool
of myself today inevitably
RainrainI’ll say the same thing tomorrow
are you the fire I’ve read aboutRainriiihaymaker
Rainrainof the heavensRaiiirii+ leaves so gold god gives
so god givesRainso gold god leaves when
Rainrainit hits the water how a miracle must
be solved sonicallyRainilike a mother filling in her
Rainrainown cracksRiimoss-kissed flowerpot
of a town I’m from where the moon shines
Rainrainand the blackberries
shine backRainiiafter the creek the mud
Rainrainon our boots was always a kind of red
I’ve never seen anywhere elseRainiiiiiministry
Rainrainmade of riverrock and rehearse
-d attempts at dancing until I can say here I am
Rainrainfeeling like a bird trapped in a chimney
some dark theater you could put
Rainrainyour ear against blue and heart
-sized the ones that spend their winters
Rainiiinside usRainrainthis is itiiiall the light
we’ll get at this hour until you bite
Rainraininto the plum and the lantern of its inside
bleedsRainrainriturn the radio on the news
Rainrainis talking about a cloud floating over us
a heavy golden guillotine
Rainrainfar away from here my friend
was protesting the same thing we are now
Rainrainwhen he died and the lilies in my kitchen
openedRainrainit was days
Rainrainbefore anyone told meRihave you ever
crossed into the trees from the fieldiihow
Rainrainthe world changes all at once
how you can be inside something like that
Rainrainthe worldRiiiiits interior where
horses run until they become the gray breath
Rainrainof themselvesIiand we run until
we can’t take anymore breath like how
Rainrainmuseums can’t take something as abstract
as a monthRainor the shadow of a ballerina
Rainrainon stage must consider when
trying to accomplish a moment of symmetry
Rainrainfor beauty’s sakeRainisometimes
the fence is down and the cattle
Rainraintrample the gardenIiisometimes it’s a mercy
to turn off the porch light and sit
Rainrainwith gnats speckling the dark
goldRiiiimercyRainrainthe interior of the world when
Rainrainthe crickets let the moment the rain stops
speak for itselfRii+ then begin their shower
Rainrainof song calling to each other the way
the stars wish they couldRainriiwherever
Rainrainyou areIiI’m hereRainunder this indigo evening
blanketRainrainwhile the police radios go on
Rainrainunattended in empty kitchens

C.T. Salazar is a Latinx poet and librarian from Mississippi. His debut collection Headless John the Baptist Hitchhiking (Acre Books 2022) was named a finalist for the 2023 Theodore Roethke Memorial Award. His poems have most recently appeared in Gulf Coast, West Branch, Cincinnati Review, Denver Quarterly Review, 32 Poems, Pleiades, and elsewhere.