‘El Tercer Oído (The Third Ear)’, First Place in Poetry

El Tercer Oído (The Third Ear) 

by Sofia Angulo-Lopera


latinos always break in the same place. 

eden’s backyard, 

my mother is cleaning god’s lovely white marble staircase,

polishing His filigree gold doorknobs and taking out the trash,

cooking rice and steaming meat and tossing a salad of greens. 


brushing aside the mangled spinal cord of ancestry, my father bends

to offer me his back. 


god loves me best because I look like him 

and require a full tube of sleazy sunscreen to survive

scorching spring break beaches. 

because the cellulite on my thighs is the same

eggshell white he pours over misbehaving angels

and funeral processions. 


a dutiful daughter who wants her parents to survive

ties their mouths shut with fibrous yucca chords and

writes their emails, checks their texts. 


when her mami and papi are offering their backs in god’s greenhouse

she takes off her shoes and says gracias. 

because this system will use you as a check mark,

as a decimal point 

and promotional photograph. 


o, sofito, no sabes, 


latinos always break in the same place.