Air Purifier by Emilio Aguilera

Air Purifier

Everything can be found in there.
Sarabanda and Gavotta in B flat.
An African Gray with its beak
of broken phrases.

Todo menos la serenidad.

If peace could be measured in liquid ounces,
I would halve all teenage egos with a cup.

And there’s nothing the air purifier won’t catch,
a dishwasher of drying socks,
the detentions of Friday.

Unclogging starts
with the first tear, of the first apology,
my kids have been dropping and drying
on the daily face of our family novela.

Peace is the weight of my son’s notebook
holding him into college.

And many things have gotten stuck in there,
the footsteps of pink elephants, voicemails,
a violin out of tune.

Todo menos la serenidad.

Unclogging starts
with the first lesson of the vacuum,
its coveted void
stripped of anything grammatical.

by Emilio Aguilera

Editor’s Note: In this poem, an air purifier serves as metaphor for the raising of teenagers. Of particular delight is the idea of a vacuum sucking it all down at the end—some things (children, ego, dirty socks) aren’t so easily put into neat categories.

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