William Archila

There used to be a Salvadorean boy inside this body. And if this isn’t enough he has come back to tell me it’s impossible

to get rid of him, like the year his father split when he was nine, stranded in the outskirts of some fictitious town, with nowhere to go,

nothing to do, no friends or relatives to bring him back. And if this isn’t enough his thoughts walk me back to the year

when I was a wheel. Another late night talk, and I’m another man, younger, in love with a landscape I used to know, knows me still

which is to say I’m still here in the dark, melancholic drunk on cane vodka and no village drunk. It is not the cold north

that makes him feel colder, not the wet grass dappled in mud that makes him stiff. It’s my aspiration to retreat higher & higher

to the mountains, the fact that I have not listened to a word he has said that makes him feel like a lonely song. Has it always

been like this? Most nights it’s quiet, others the muffled sounds of a conversation next door. Ours could be heard upstairs, out there

in my neighbor’s ear pressed to the wall. It’s a nocturnal thing and I wanted so much of this to be two insomniacs in love

with a hole they can’t possibly fill, but carry nonetheless like a patron saint to have when they need a little happiness.

William Archila is the author of The Art of Exile, winner of the International Latino Book Award, and The Gravedigger’s Archaeology, winner of the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize. He has been published in American Poetry Review, AGNI, Conjunctions, Colorado Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry, and the anthologies The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext, Theatre Under My Skin: Contemporary Salvadoran Poetry, and The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the US.