Chicana watches The Green Mile for the first time & dreams that night knowing John Coffey could have also been her father


& the glare of moon stitches a nightmare to the wet of my eyes.
I envy the violence of time—how the clock hammers through seconds.
The room rebuilds itself back to beige painted walls.
I left my father in the desert under a mesquite. His lips signed
by the sun. Drink. Hands me a mason jar & water slowly fogs
beneath an old rusted lid. His breath a salt lick close to home
yet far from god. A lizard on a piece of petrified wood swallows
my passport & grins. Father stares down my small body & inhales
the fear out my eyes. & an exhale of canaries flood the sky. They sing
a mother’s voice & disintegrate into the clouds & their surrounding
blueness. A wolf leaps down a cliff & morsels the last yellow bird to brush
the horizon. All fear in his belly—I can hear it peck at the dark, tunes a sorrowful
prayer— a call to my father. In my hands I hold the skull of a wolf.
I wake & in my palms a honey crisp apple.

Karla Cordero is the recipient of the 2015 Loft Literary Center Spoken Word Immersion fellowship (Minneapolis, MN) and editor of SpitJournal, an online literary review for poetry and social justice. Karla's chapbook, Grasshoppers Before Gods (2016) was published by Dancing Girl Press. Her work has appeared in Word Riot, Poetry International, The Acentos Review, Toe Good Poetry, among other publications.