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  • The House Has Teeth, and A History
  • Aldo Amparán (bio)

The House Has Teeth

It's the house that made me            the house            with windows that clatterlike bone & skin            covered furniture rearranging itself            a house

haunted by fingerprint dust            & the cops            shooting boys with plastic toyguns in their hands        cops shooting boys with plastic toy guns        playing

/good cop/            shooting boys who stole the milk            /bad cop/

shooting dope at the back of the alley after busting the street hustlerthis house has teeth            I know it            I've seen themglow in the dark            looming cylindrical            like silver gun barrels

over my bed            I've been waiting            for the jaw to hinge shut at my headfor the snap            the fast beheading            the chew & the swallow

I live            by the rattling wall            where a white hand shoves my faceagainst that iron barrier            because two tongues quarrel in my mouth            I live

where blue            matter spreads through the ceiling            poisoning

my lungs            o how this house shakes me            every nightthe shape of a woman holding            her breath the shape            of my motherat the edge of the bed            the shape of her mouth            that o

that wail that question that—what            have you done            to my son? [End Page 98]

A History

I want to stop writingabout the violencein this border, how it toreapart land into territory& settled therelike an infection. I want to stopwriting about the vanished,the vanished, the whereis she, the why her, the desertswallowing, the abandonedtruck stuffed with forgottenbodies, the brown skinshimmering with keroseneat a checkpoint, the bulletsplitting the Río Bravointo slivers of a child's skull,& how I left a countryfor the sake of my mother'ssleep. O, the echo of history'sdark. Instead, let me goback to a lover's bed,to the time before I fledthe city of my firsttemptation—howthe violence on the screen,where the actor would openher eyes, after the cut, & wipefake blood off her forehead,made the boy I lovedhold my hand tighter,on the couch, in his mother'shouse. I want to writeabout the small violenceof his teeth pullingat my lip, the summer [End Page 99] before the federalesspilled all throughthe city, their bluelights shiftingon the white bedspreadevery night since. [End Page 100]

Aldo Amparán

Aldo Amparán is the author of Brother Sleep (Alice James Books, forthcoming 2022), winner of the 2020 Alice James Award. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and CantoMundo. His work has appeared most recently in the Academy of American Poets' "Poem-a-Day," AGNI, Best New Poets, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. He lives in the border cities of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, CHIH, México.



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