The World Before This One

The student with down syndrome shuffles
beneath the leaden sky. His teacher beside him as he slips past.
The judges are toy bedouins. Their opinions a pack of gum.
One sits at the foot of a clock tower, thumbing papers.
Another judge’s heart is a mental scream. Illness is the seam.
Fitting puzzle pieces, rolling dice, shuffling cards. The world before
this one, like a well-oiled merry-go-round. Flash of Timothy Geithner.
On the fingertips of the young, loss, loss in the spittle on their mouths.
A month ago, it cost you nothing. You moved toward the broken,
now the broken moves toward you fast as wreckage in a riptide.
You, the god at the center, a bobbing mass of wet wood beams.
Your hair a twirling hash of poetic superstructure.
An arms-length sufficient enough to pierce the clouds.
Something you’d never say aloud. Only this ominous place
accepts the recesses of the living. Flash of Neil Armstrong.
At 1 a.m. channel surfing yields Bible-like revelations.
Singular imagery: Doc Holliday, Oprah Winfrey,
The Thompson Twins. The beautiful brunette selling crunch-
machines, the box that can turn a salad into a salad.
Flash of Bernie Sanders. Flash of The Teflon Don.
George Reeves as Superman, whistle-flying as he flies
in the space around the eyes, where the fantasy grows.


Alejandro Escudé’s first book of poems, My Earthbound Eye, was published in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. Find more at alejandroescude.com.