Self-Portrait in the Future, A Letter for the New Year by Shei Sanchez

Self-Portrait in the Future, A Letter for the New Year
after J. Michael Martinez

On that day and on days
the world you inhabit
feels uneven, you

will place both hands
on solid ground and lift
the rest of your self

up. Fear will chase
your breath. Still,

you’ll touch the sky.

With the weight
of you on your hands
and shoulders, how many

shades of dark did you hurl
to the sun? When
did you gather

the kindling, blow fire to it,
tend the passion
beneath your skin?

Remember running
to your mama, hiding
under her dress
when a car commercial on TV came on?
to your kindergarten
classroom window, crying for her
to come back
on your first day?

Your shoulders buckling,
but your heart kept mouthing

puede, puede, puede

Steady your gaze. The drishti
lives inside you. The breath,
your flame. The dragon,
a friend. If you fall,

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .the earth will catch you.

Yesterday, you warriored roots
on fallow land. You pressed flint
in your curled fist, exhaled everything.

by Shei Sanchez

Instagram: @sheishimi

Editor’s Note: The enjambment of this poem echoes the uncertainty introduced in the first stanza, but the ending denies that idea with its emphasis on hope.


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