Another Selena Poem

By  |  November 10, 2020
“Los Angeles Light Box” (2017), by Travis Boyer. Courtesy Travis Boyer and SIGNAL.  Photo by Kyle Clairmont Jacques “Los Angeles Light Box” (2017), by Travis Boyer. Courtesy Travis Boyer and SIGNAL. Photo by Kyle Clairmont Jacques

Oh, oh, baby: the door opened making new, irregular 
air, startled into the shape of Texas. Blood behind each syllable, 
as if my body recognized touch & pulse before a hand
had ever laid there. She made love to vowels while I

hated the sound of my own name, each i & a 
their own kind of irrevocable aches. She turned Iliana 
inside out, stretched it into something almost 
delicate but still strange. Amor prohibido: nothing less than

homesickness & its inverse—the more cumbia,
the further language ran from me. More ranchera, closer
she came. Distance between unfamiliar & familiar
shorter than a bullet’s reach, light tripped over light to warm

her silhouette in wounds, & something about her ass 
that’s already been said a million times & better.


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Iliana Rocha is the 2019 winner of the Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry for her most recent collection, The Many Deaths of Inocencio Rodriguez, forthcoming from Tupelo Press. Karankawa, her debut, won the 2014 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry.