Gnosis || Miguel Perez

Beside the sagebrush rolls a tumbleweed
devilling dust across the desert. Leave specters 
to their romp—leave them to upend earth 

behind their iron gate. Listen carefully. Push 
your boulder up the mesa. Hear the grit of wind
and brace. Know there is no ocean on the other side, 

no water past the boundary. Know there is no one 
waiting at the top. Know you have no gods
to plea for mercy. Listen carefully. Drought 

will not save you. Thirst will beat you with bricks
and without cause. This will be your final 
rainless dream. Learn to swim before you wake.

You will not be born again. Listen carefully. 
This is practice. This is praxis. This is the molasses 
of time. This will never be the youth you yearned for.

This is healing. Scab and callus. Let sand sting
and fill the gaps where silent torments plot 
your end. Listen. A gust coming in from the west.

Miguel Martin Perez (he/they) is an Afro-Dominican queer poet from Harlem and the South Bronx. His work has received PRISM international’s 2021 Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize and was a finalist for both the 2022 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize and 2022 Black Warrior Review Poetry Contest. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem and the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and is a Tin House Winter Workshop alum. Among other publications, his poems appear in Raleigh Review, Acentos Review, Santa Fe Writers Project Quarterly, and Beyond Words. He holds an MFA in creative writing from UC Riverside.


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