The Universe, According to Rufino Tamayo 
Past the breath that only stars have, I find myself
an open hand of night with pupils that eclipse the moon.
The blackness underneath my feet, not above where the sky is filled with sea.
My eyelash covers the arm of the galaxy with one word that means, here.
I shake my hair like a cloud and let the spirals of my curls dot the hereafter with quasars.
I have no need to crush darkness, only hold my hand out to it like the five
fingers of my lungs that also expand and collapse.
I have hidden my teeth for days. I’m afraid
they will spill and become silver streetlights in competition with the marble gleam of the moon.
My sharp points are a reminder that I am atmosphere.
The snap of my fingers make stars pulse.
The smashed lilacs of my eyelids crumble into the depths of the ocean
under moonlight and the whisper of the most delicate dove.
I fear I will never eat. I fear
my tongue will hang itself on an ice cube.
Marigolds are in front of me like pursed lips, the head
of a child that knows to look up, arms spread as an echo.
I may disappear, but if I spell my name,
I return like dusk and pray to never fall asleep.
Rufino del Carmen Arellanes Tamayo (August 25, 1899 – June 24, 1991) was a Mexican painter of Zapotec heritage, born in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. Tamayo was active in the mid-20th century in Mexico and New York, painting figurative abstraction with surrealist influences.   — From WikiArt
Monica Rico grew up in Saginaw, Michigan alongside General Motors and the legend of Theodore Roethke. She is an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program and the author of Twisted Mouth of the Tulip (Red Paint Hill Publishing, 2017). Her poems have appeared in Glass: A Journal of Poetry (Poets Resist), SiDEKiCK Lit, Dunes Review, Moonchild Magazine, The Ilanot Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Luna Luna, and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. Follow her at her website.
To read more poems of provocation and witness, please visit The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database at SplitThisRock.org.
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