Faucet by Emilio Aguilera


Sometimes it pours out,
a scream, the band aid for
the cut finger,
a tunnel of tub bubbles
and its train whistle.

If I listen hard enough
when the hot water runs,
I hear the chill in mother’s voice
freezing me to the lid
of the cookie jar.

is the language of father’s belt
telling the story at bedtime.

And still it pours,
the Lucky Charm dinners,
the teddy bear tears,
the lost Legos.

Everything but solace.

And closure starts
with the next drowning
of barley and hops,
their seductive fields
taking a lifetime to dry.

by Emilio Aguilera

Editor’s Note: Surreal imagery carefully reprises difficult childhood memories, and leads the reader from past to present. The ending is a killer.

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.

Floor by Emilio Aguilera


The house is creaking.

Its sounds are foot and pier
plank over ocean. And I,
in that boat, hide

in the hangover. In its dark,
I find the floor

where brothers wrestled,
or father and son fight,

or the ring mother threw.

And in the bottle, I find,
more ocean.

by Emilio Aguilera

Editor’s Note: The careful choice of words that end the lines in this poem serve the subject matter well. Every line break and image offered reinforces the poem’s despairing voice.