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Sarah Sophia Yanni


object study


ringlets ebb toward 
cloth. covered by
dust and beige-silk 
stains, eyes projecting 
story-scapes. undo
the purple wall. a
body fed is oil, scrubbed 
clean. I crave this. 





time traveler 


this is how I remember july:

            an old man’s chipped 

metal cart


boasting ice cream bins of guava

and piloncillo, that distinct

vanilla bean of yellow 

whipped with flecks of black






cough sweetness and I’m thrown to


dirt clouds tending abuelo’s land 

playing ten-body futbol


me and the 

cousins in 

a matching

row of overheating

            gap sweaters 




and we were all afraid of the

granja’s empty hole, a mythical


orifice plagued by endless



somewhere, a donkey brayed then

            I was grown and the granja


was sold back 







to airports, seated 

up and away ears plugged and heavy 

quick adjust to

california gravel and sun 


far from this kinship

a yearly confusion


melting any trace of tenacity 

            that may have been left 

            in my bones






            a child sees                   volcano sputter                                                and clouds 

                        of grey-black ash 

globular                                                           whole

                        to capture the sky                                would be          nice

             the child thinks                       

                                                a child thought                         to have             

staring at cotton                       eruption                       threats              as the car                                 shoots forward                        

                                                            over a bridge                lined    

with yellow poles                     the child counts the                             gaps

                                    thirty pipes                   blurring

                                                            like calcified                             striations 

fused together in         the flash 

                                                                        little does she know                 

this image        will linger in                 her memory                             arsenal  

                                                                                                            decades later    little     does she                       know               that soon    

the highway                             will become a 

                                                                                                forbidden space

            absent              bodies and siren                       echoes             

                        etched into the                                     mountain walls








i. christening


the oath of a 

daughter is 


signed in the 

womb and 


the lamb is

placed neatly 


in the crook 

of your elbow. 


her child 

stomach quickly 


learns the 

sensation of a 



a counterfeit 



bogged down by 


the altarpiece 

script reciting


its wants into 

the soft parts of 


her tendons. this 

is an aqueduct 


of miracles, an 

endless flow of roses. 


this feels like

forced emotion


coaxed into 



shoveled by a

golden spoon.


ii. epiphany


it is inevitable:

for a landscape


to be cracked up 

close. for a wave of


overthinking to

arrive and refract


the given 

meanings. she 


will hold the




in her hand


and declare a

truth: I like who


I am and who I 

have become.


a wild product

of anthills


and oak trees,

sad songs in 


the abdomen

and cola


afternoons. an



creature in the

blue-black night, 


she averts the

judging gaze


and howls keenly

at the moon.









for leilah


the aja moment tugs      my chest to the      south       bound to 

a knowledge       that we have built       this is the cosmovisión       of two

sisters       an urge that        rises from skittish        premonition      like the ache

of a specific album      we both heard        at once though       miles         apart    

or the ache of       overlapping lucid dreams       staining       the gold-brown 

iris       that we share       this cosmovisión is a       spiritual thing        more     

powerful       than the offerings       we used to make on sundays      puncturing space       such as       the distance from        la to san diego coasting        on the amtrak surfliner       with the smell       of tangerine and        ocean       our black lashes bat       at the aja moment        and like divine      intervention        it cannot be      explained       a belief system belonging       only to us       as tongues translate  spurts of words into        wandering tales         a merciless history       we both know         the punch line to         how can I         explain        this linked condition        only by saying         that the        feeling        of your absence        is the feeling       of  loss       

the loss of something tender       and true      it is an honor to be     disappointments     together        not quite as        polished       as the elders         had planned       I am grateful         for the distance        bridged by mutual lack        of faith        and  

for this        multilingual spirit       that  keeps our beings close

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