? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 5


Octavio Quintanilla

Drawing Blood

It’s invisible thresholds that time
traverses, not you.

This is why first you draw a clock
floating in the air; on the table, 
a bottle of wine.

Then an eyelid sketched by bitterness, 
eyelash; the rest of the face, 

You want it to be your father’s,
his broken jaw, the thin lips 
you’ve heard so much about.

Like true suffering, he’s beyond 
representation, outside 
of language.  Out of all 
your soccer games and the first fistfight 
you lost.

When you try to draw him, you return
to the house where you’re always 
a child. Where you have an absent enemy 
whose life you save in your thoughts
and then condemn again.

This time, you want it all 
to end in fire. 
And because you have no need of it, 
you also want to toss 
the word murder
into the serrated flames.

This time, you’ll not be alone: 
A loaf of bread next to the bottle of wine. 
Your mother’s soft hands resting on the table.