Andres Cordoba

Like Robins Devouring

The trees behind fidget, and stretch their spines

with gnarled cracks and leafy expulsions. Eyes cast

below at Donny with the Sox sweater,

his tobacco spit sucked up roots,

latching to the waves of xylem tissue,

folding nicotine and phosphorus and

snuff and nitrate,

And I’d play in parks, down slides,

hit the ground floor, my body pitching forward,

clenching flowers and weeds, fingers so deep

the worms mate with my digits. I’d pull myself free

eventually, but the dirt cakes sweet under nails to

be sucked dry. Crumbles between the

now webbed hands. Crunching on splinters,

feasting on mutton of earth.

In the last days of living there,

my sister’s three-year-old best friend eats too.

He popped wood chips salty with rain down his throat

like greased frogs. For months they’d slide smooth to stomach,

classmates’ gleeful giggles filling suburban air like manicured lawns

and condescension until

one turns.

Sideways it sticks, and

my sister

watched him

turn blue

with regret.

Her eyes gain a lens over them from then on,

like oil rainbows over muddy water.

I weep so loudly at the funeral my father

carries me out like antelope in lion’s jaws. Maybe it’s then and maybe it’s now, but I

stand by the side of highway, in the shadow of Charles River cherry blossoms,

and water the ground.

The robins come out early in the spring with worms drooping like moustaches between beak, but the boy

can’t laugh once the Massachusetts roots finally claim him in their teeth.

Andres Cordoba is a SUNY Purchase student with big dreams and small hands. His doctor said they’re not that small, but Andres knows better.