about the author

Darrel Alejandro Holnes’s poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming in The Caribbean Writer, Callaloo, The Best American Poetry blog, The Feminist Wire, and elsewhere. His degrees in creative writing are from the University of Michigan and the University of Houston. He has received scholarships to Bread Loaf, Cave Canem, and various residencies, most recently to VCCA, and he currently resides in New York, NY.

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Dream Girl

Darrel Alejandro Holnes

How to dream about a woman’s grief filled lungs screaming alarm
sending you scrambling for the raft and life vest against the storm growing
    inside her—

River rising fifteen shades of black & blue beating you
for not being buoyant enough to alone keep you three afloat.

How to dream about a woman’s sharply turned mouth saying
you shouldn’t have tried to build an ark to save her, loved her
    or the child so soon,

terrified life’s darkness would again be drowning.

How to dream about a woman’s calloused hands gaspingly
reaching for air as she is smothered by your mourning
    what you only briefly both had by remembering,

as she desperately closes her eyes like fists and fights you to forget—

A woman you can’t stop loving, come bruise or blood shine.
Hold her, if you must, and leap into the river, its consoling water breaking

your fall. Perhaps this is how love dies quietly in its sleep,
sinking into currents of contusions and reverie.

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