Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozabal
Shadows Are Cast
After Linda Pastan
The shadows are cast
by an invisible hand
and I have been typecast
as a mostly quiet man.
The people talk about
my pending mortality.
I live one day at a time.
I live in the future
and sometimes in the past.
The present is always here
and it is always the same
with the walls collapsing
and the furniture moving.
For months I hear my name.
The world revolves around me.
I am locked up in my room.
Whether it’s April or June, it’s
always the same. November or
May, I stay locked in this room.
Who can remember their first steps?
The ones that can are obviously lying.
How far back can one remember their
first words? The words I said yesterday
are a total blur. And how many times
have I repeated myself. The past is one
of my greatest weaknesses in terms of
memory. So is this a foreshadowing
event? Will I be struck by Dementia?
Those were the days I will never say.
I will not remember my first love. My
mind will become a stone instead of
a sponge. It will not matter what I said
or did. Every mind has its own journey.
The idiot brain is not to be envied. I
am sure to be speechless and without
memory once my spirit is in the sky.
My first step must have been followed
by a stumble and my mother and
father must have saved me from death.
And my first love is still out there.
My feelings never vanished. Still, they
are now at peace. My memory will be
at peace one day. The breathing will
come to a stop. Who will remember me?
A Way Out
I am always seeking a way out
in case peace of mind does not stick.
When I know in my heart, I am not safe,
going home is the only way
to go. I do not want to be dead
when there is still time. Birds sing their
songs. I listen for a little while.
There are ghosts and ants in my house.
They each prefer certain rooms.
They keep me company when I feel down.
There were days that happiness reigned.
There is always a good book to read.
I find the better ones a comforting gift.
I will read about life and read about death.
The ghosts tell me stop doing that.
They want me to go out again.
They tell me not to go into the light.
The ants want me to go into the snowlight.
I wonder where that is on this earth.
In the morning I am greeted by the sun.
Sometimes my mercury is in retrograde.
I sleep off my insomnia into dawn
counting to a million and back to one.
Walking You to School
I walked you to school
when you were in kindergarten.
I do not know who was
more scared, you or me.
I let you know I would
come back for you soon,
that you would make friends
and have fun learning.
At work I thought about you,
wondered if you liked your lunch,
if you were happy and
hoped you felt safe and sound.
I never once thought about
Sandy Hook, Parkland or
Uvalde, that had not happened
yet, and I could not fathom
Columbine happening again.
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal lives in California and he works in the mental health field in Los Angeles, CA. His poems have been published by Blue Collar Review, Escape Into Life, Mad Swirl, Misfit Magazine, Nerve Cowboy, and Unlikely Stories.