The Axolotl Speaks


You can cut the spinal cord, crush it, remove a segment, and it will regenerate. You can cut the limbs at any level—the wrist, the elbow, the upper arm—and it will regenerate, and it’s perfect. There is nothing missing, there’s no scarring on the skin at the site of amputation, every tissue is replaced. They can regenerate the same limb 50, 60, 100 times. And every time: perfect.

– Scientific America, April 2011


Tu me dices: you are losing               the animal

within.                         Y yo digo nada.                      How can you

battle                           a diety.            Instead I ask,

how many

times               have you offered

your arms?

How many?


            do you




x 7.

The nervous system.               Transmutations. Re-calibrated.




Eres guardia? Or guarded?

And you welcome                                                                   silence

with                 space,                                                  with                 quiet.

So I must consider

your revival alone:                 the monstrance


And my tied                tongue             to knees.


Undeed this     border.

Make me

explain                        Xochimilco,


Nunca                                                              libre.

Brain               clipped.


A synapse                                lodged

between           dendrites:

una viuda, a retina, nulo, todo, a trucing fissure, a wand.


es el hueso.

A chip, abandoned.                 You finally say,

Do this

in memory of me.

As if    I           could

     tragar un lago

                           and the cortex could



                                                            and      war

                                                                       the       blood.


you ask me:                   what remains

                    cuando has


                    scars and reconstruiste

                    the self?


                                Yes. Growls.

                                Or simply,

                                virga gathering

                                in drought.

Anthony Cody is a CantoMundo fellow and an editorial member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle. He was born in Fresno, California with roots in both the Dust Bowl and Bracero Program. His poetry has been appeared in U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971–2007 (City Lights), How Do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday), in which he also served as co-editor, Prairie Schooner, ToeGood Poetry Journal, Gentromancer - a collaborative cross-genre art project with artist Josue Rojas in El Tecolote. New work is forthcoming in TriQuarterly. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing - Poetry at Fresno State.