Devonaire Ortiz

Magnolia portoricensis, evergreen sending seeds
all over america. All throughout the city a million
children think they know their names.

Time Song

I rest in you
on a night hard like hematite
outside the car horns say
life’s always right here

clockwork bodies turn and turn
let me hold your second hand to slow us
let me trace the minutes with mine own fingers
so close I can smell an hour pass

I listen for a new tick
sometimes time twitches
when you touch it right
sometimes when it’s late the stars are inside you

sip the molasses like holy water post-sin
I dip in the basin of your blessing pond
in its center where, from above,
everything is blue

the grass spread as long as we hope to last
in your sapped meadow
the yarrow pleased to sprout for no reason at all
the trees, blue

moon shimmer comes to clean us
I am not ready to be washed yet
you cast shadows precisely where I need them cast
you, my night’s night

under your sweet cover
warm with the touch of your clay-gold skin
where I have no care for morning,
I never dream of clouds.

Misnomer

Magnolia portoricensis, evergreen sending seeds
all over america. All throughout the city a million
children think they know their names. Mothers
taught them to howl it from paint-chipped fire escapes
almost as loud as the sirens running through the streets.
Boricua, adjoining word for a people cleaved
by five hundred centuries of border hounds and
bloody vessels. What is your water when it is not
your water? A nearby broken promise. The nourishment
of the body denied. Entry point to island unknown
all bacardi factory and fajardo. Bank liens and lives lost.
Forced departure. Elders flee, save a future
all the kids become hyphenated, going on unaware
of homeland. Their old wear in the lines of their faces
grains of sand they brought as keepsake. They tell
a want for home and ask a question:
What about the people who never meant to be

american?

BIO

Devonaire is a Puerto Rican-American writer based in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in PANK and The Florida Review. He is an incoming MFA candidate at Rutgers University.

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