Before you start dating white boys
and your life becomes a Justin Bieber
song again, antes que olvides tu apellido
to become what fits in his mouth, before
the Latin pop station is kicked off the radio
otravez and you must choose to get either
Ed or Sheeran stuck in your head on your way
to another endless shift, antes que me
besas con esa destreza and I become
the colder half of your bed, empty
as the 3am sky every night in this city,
hiccup-drunk with headlights, please
forgive yourself for what you are about
to do to me. I am not naive enough
to believe the false language of our
bodies. Delete our texts. Forget the midnight
fantasies of our beautiful brown children,
the bilingual wedding where our tias
drop it like it’s hot for another Daddy
Yankee. Blame the states between us.
Blame pesadillas where I no longer
remember your name. Remember each
stupid thing I may have done and blame
me. Amor, I believe in love, but not
people. Or maybe, I believe in people,
but not love. I am not sure which one
I mean as you peel yourself from my skin,
slow, as if the fruit in my chest has rot
to miel, as if I may bruise at the faintest touch.


Willy Palomo is the son of two immigrants from El Salvador. Wake the Others, his first collection of poetry, will be published by Black Lawrence Press in March 2020. He is a founding editor of La Piscucha Magazine and a book reviewer at Muzzle. Follow them @palomopoemas and