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By Juan Felipe Herrera

This is my last report:
I wanted to speak of existence, the ants most of all,
dressed up in their naughty flame-trousers, the exact jaws,
their unknowable kindnesses, their abyss of hungers,
and science, their mercilessness, their prophetic military
devotions, their geometry of scent, their cocoons
for the Nomenclature,


I wanted to speak of the Glue Sniffers
and Glue Smoothers who despise all forms
unbound, loose in their amber nectars, I wanted
to point to their noses, hoses and cables and networks,
their tools, if I can use that word now—and scales and
scanners and Glue Rectories.


I wanted you to meet my broom mother
who carved a hole into her womb
so that I could live—


At every sunset she stands
under the shadow of the watchtowers
elongating and denying her breath.


I wanted to look under the rubble fields
for once, for you (if you approved), flee
into the bullet-riddled openness and fall flat,
arched, askew, under the rubble sheets
and let the rubble fill me


with its sharp plates and ripped dust—
alphabets incomplete and humid. You,
listen,


a little closer
to the chalk dust—this child swinging her left arm,
a ribbon, agitated by unnamed forces, devoured.
 


Juan Felipe Herrera, "This Is My Last Report" from Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2008 by Juan Felipe Herrera.  Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

Source: Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2008)

  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Juan Felipe Herrera
The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In 2012, Herrera was named California's poet laureate, and the U.S. poet laureate in 2015. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. His creative work often crosses genres, including poetry opera and dance theater. Herrera has taught at California State University-Fresno and at the University of California-Riverside, and he currently serves on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. He lives in California. See More By This Poet

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