Breathing in their Distance

by Fernando Pérez

     for Rae

She bears the weight of flowers on her dress,
a pattern repeated,
dreams she had of growing things.

Her back is turned.
She will not walk away
from the darkness in their room,
away from him.

She will not shift her stare
even once. He cannot remember
what it was like to read her eyes—
Could he be the one to walk away?

She prefers sitting there,
to sing to him without moving her lips,
marking the fabric of his skin,
a tattoo he cannot remove.

They learned too late
sunflowers should not be overcrowded in their pots,
will not stem the height of the patio wall
if their roots are struggling to breathe.

This is work they both had a hand in—
His finger pressing into dark soil,
the seeds dropped from her palm.

Fernando Pérez teaches creative writing for the Young Writers Program and first-year composition at Arizona State University. He holds an MFA in poetry from ASU. He is originally from Long Beach, CA, where he received his B.A. in creative writing from Long Beach State. He used to surf, when he lived by an ocean. Now he mostly thinks of surfing and how little he actually did surf relative to how close he lived to the water. He thinks a lot about water, living in the desert.

Back to Issue Nine: Fall 2010