He Snatches the Hand Before You Can Take It

by Mónica García

I haven’t spoken this to my brother.
The way my father, under sweltering
moonlight in June held
trembling breath on a string.
I hear his confession
before the cicadas do.

Precursor to their syncopated crying,
he is missing a sister he lost
in a car crash. Her funeral lasting
the vacation time his job allowed. I haven’t told
my brother how he pressed chapped
palms to his eyes, pushed tears
into tautness, denied abjection
to me, his oldest child. His voice echoes
in the living room:

No hay nada más que hacer.

I begin to tell him he is allowed
softness but instead,
he moves like he’s counting his steps,
three, four, five, seven, nine,
into the kitchen, and reaches
for the tequila nestled
between hot sauce and a jar of salt.

I have never seen him cry before.
He does not want me to see.
He, the provider, the father of five
and granite, incomparable,
is not a man of litanies.

The men in my family
swallow barbed wire
and pretend they are stars.
Their daughters try to hold
their sadness for them,
ache splitting between their fingers
like dust. I know these men,
my father, his wedding band,
clinking against
his glass, rhythmic heartbeat
tapping, tapping, tapping,
with a grief
he refuses to name.


Mónica García is a poet from Kankakee, IL. They hold a degree in Creative Writing from Northwestern University and is currently pursuing their MFA at Arizona State University. Their work has appeared in The Acentos Review, Helicon Literary & Arts Magazine, Polemix Magazine, and elsewhere. In their free time, they draw comic-poems and give their plants good morning kisses.

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