Poetry: “Don’t go hungry for my dark skin” by Octavio Quintanilla

Don’t go hungry for my dark skin.

Don’t go hungry for a homeland.

You ask why you must love a country
That doesn’t love you back.

Isn’t this the way of all love?
The nature of hunger?

You’ve forgotten the names of the birds
That fly above you.

You’ve forgotten the name of the tree
That gives you the fruit of its shade.

Your fingerprints swim like fish
in the currents of the rivers you crossed.

You want to swim after them,
Jump in the water and drift like a twig
Until you reach shore.

What shore?

The wind has erased the North Star
From the dark page of the sky.

If you could only glue together
All the torn pieces of the map
That guides you.

Follow the toll of your empty stomach,

Drink my bone marrow.

Take my hand as if taking a slice of bread.

Octavio Quintanilla’s poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Bitter Oleander, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. His critical reviews have appeared in Texas Books in Review and in Southwestern American Literature. He has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. He teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. “Don’t go hungry for my dark skin” was originally published in Issue 4 of Strike Magazine.

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