Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2018  Vol. 17 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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How to Jump Fences

  1. Wait to be born into the milked-dry.
What your mother makes selling arepa
will never be enough to put you through school,
so she will shed her skin in a sweatshop
even if it means dumping you at the neighbor’s.

  2. If you are from an island,
stack your body in the belly of a cargo ship.
If you are from a landmass below the Tropic of Cancer,
your best bet is to trek north among coyotes.

  3. Clear out your life from behind the loose cinder blocks in the kitchen.

  4. Keep your fear under your soles,
it might save your life one day.

the road back has been washed away by blood.

  5. Carry a photograph of your girlfriend
standing under the flame tree,
remember the color of its bark
before it turns to charcoal.
Bring the only picture of your grandmother,
the one in which you are sitting on her lap
while she cups your balls over your short-shorts.

  6. Do not carry every memory.

  7. Make sure to get a haircut,
take the clippings to the brujo
so he can bless your bones.

  8. Throw all your unpaid bills inside the oven.
Don’t let the smoke seep through the windows.

  9. Don’t cry. Don’t be tempted to unpack anything.

10. If you are leaving by dinghy, expect sharks.

even if you drown, you will have arrived at a new coast.

11. Leave handwritten instructions
so they know what to do with your body.

12. If the boatmen take your money,
if it means you have been robbed
again, be grateful for the low tide &
the blind moon & the distant hurricanes.  

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