I D K     I S S U E     5


john manuel arias

Villainelle for Valentina

At my wake, confess it all for me in Spanglish
Pry my mouth open into a smile
That last day I sip your name

The cells I’m missing were white clouds
In a canopy, no longer green
At my wake, confess it all [for me in Spanglish]

Like the dawn I find you bare at the edge
Of a rainforest,              back again as a brittle boy
His shadow a mouth        [th]at last [day I sip your name]

As succulent as mercury, appetizing as arsenic
Juice my mother           squeezed fresh
At my wake [confess it] all for me [in Spanglish]

This world is too big for it just to be
The two of us, you sob, your back turned
like a door that last day I sip you[r name]

You promised to show up at least
Carnations in every hole like mufflers
At my wake, confess [it all for me in Spanglish]
[That last day I sip] your name


John Manuel Arias is a gay, Costa Rican, and Uruguayan poet back in Washington, DC after many years. He is a Canto Mundo fellow and his poetry has appeared in several literary magazines, including Sixth Finch, the Journal, and Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry, and his fiction has found homes in Akashic Books, the Acentos Review, and Cardinal Sins Journal. Before DC, he lived in Costa Rica with his grandmother and four ghosts.