Alfredo Aguilar

on a ranch my father broke horses

found discipline at the end
of a whip. punished the wild
            colt for disobedience. it threw
                        its body on him, flailed,

& left him covered in a new skin
of dust. used rope to force
            the colt to kneel before him & it never
                        again tried to jump. my father

was shaped by hands that were
fatherless. withheld a warmth
            they did not know how to offer. his own hands
                        grew thick with calluses. he learned

bury, learned stone face, & called them
strength. the night his mother
            passed his voice was a quiet swell. a rope
                        loosened & an unbridled sorrow bucked

against the walls of his throat. it rose
on its hinds legs, nostrils flared. he bit
            his lip, felt the pull of a metal bar
                        along his tongue, & did not weep.

Alfredo Aguilar is a Mexican-American poet living in North County San Diego. He is the co-director of Glassless Minds, a bi-monthly open mic in Oceanside Ca.

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