SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

How We Lived by Emma Trelles



And sparrows unthread nests, bring their young nothing


And shadows best seen inside the pitch of a cave


And three men stabbed on a train because of courage


And jacarandas flick cinder and blacken the ground


And the harbor horn is a creature roping hulls to the reefs


And the reefs gleam with chrome and absence


And absence is welcome


The bullet is welcome


The malignant cell is welcome


The gray faces and their merciless tongues are welcome


And a father is reptilian in his regard. And a mother stitches


Her lips like a wound. And the wound smells of silence and its blaring


And a child lays hands on a mine. And a man swallows his lies without measure


And a woman is told she is less than him she is less than the bodies left


Behind, less than the unmade, the never-was, the dirt forgotten by the tracks


And I no longer care about the losses. I no longer care if the last


Bit of bark is stripped from the earth, if the starved possum survives


The road, whether my neighbor coughs blood while she drags off a red


Or the hand turning the knob means me harm. I no longer fear


The inexorable diagnosis, the oceans rising to such heights


In my dreams they are monstrous but we are all still running


Towards each other, in this latest hour, refusing to shutter our eyes.

Emma Trelles is the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the author of Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press), winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, a finalist for Foreword/Indies poetry book of the year, and a recommended read by The Rumpus. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Miami Rail, The Los Angeles Review, Zocalo Public Square, Poet Lore, Best American Poetry, Best of the Net, the Miami Herald, and others. A recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, she lives with her husband in California, where she teaches at Santa Barbara City College and programs the Mission Poetry Series.

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