the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Maria Gregorio


Night says,
cigarette is tonic of hold

against undoing.
Ignite only here, at

the door of last regret,
and use this match

to turn to cinders
its calling.

Dubious winter
awaits at the window

where you release
the pigeon's craw

you thought was advice.
When the wind pushes back,

give it your lobe
to feed on.


In the Dark

Was my
first patient in
cuffed wrists
choking on threats
and dust filling her
from the inside.
She, of ramshackled streets
where we lock the doors
as we drive through and past
swept up from the beds of
the unwanted.
Of mothers who carried
the same fate from themselves to her.
Of those printed on ink by scholars
who knew nothing of her colors and scent,
what ate away at her skin,
the little that remained. She, the one
before birth they
positioned for subjugation.
I saw her through the lens of hospital glass,
then up close. I waited for her to come down.
The wait made my breathing trip,
my chest split in a medicine room.
She, who continued to run until after her feet bled.
Until before me
she lay with her eyes barely blinking
only because
she failed to finish herself off, inside
a body refusing her deepest
wish, a body defying;
wanting one more chance
to right itself
into the innocence she was.



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