Friday Night Poetry Corner #168-How I Learned to Walk

Good evening everyone and welcome to another Friday Night Poetry Corner. This week, the fantastic poet Javier Zamora poem called “How I Learned to Walk” is an introspective, descriptive piece that is brilliantly written. He is an amazing poet.

How I Learned to Walk


Calláte. Don’t say it out loud: the color of his hair,

the sour odor of his skin, the way they say

his stomach rose when he slept. I have

done nothing, said nothing. I piss in the corner

of the room, the outhouse is far, I think

orange blossoms call me to eat them. I fling rocks

at bats hanging midway up almond trees.

I’ve skinned lizards. I’ve been bored. It’s like

that time I told my friend Luz to rub her lice

against my hair. I wanted to wear a plastic bag,

to smell of gasoline, to shave my hair, to feel

something like his hands on my head.

When I clutch pillows, I think of him. If he sleeps

facedown like I do. If he can tie strings

to the backs of dragonflies. I’ve heard

of how I used to run to him. His hair still

smelling of fish, gasoline, and seaweed. It’s how

I learned to walk they say. Calláte. If I step

out this door, I want to know nothing will take me.

Not the van he ran to. Not the man he paid to take him.

Mamá Pati was asleep when he left. People say

somehow I walked across our cornfield

at dawn, a few steps behind. I must have seen him

get in that van. I was two. I sat behind a ceiba tree,

waiting. No one could find me.

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