Arts & Culture

I adore your gentle breathing, lying in my bed;

My plant has chosen you with drops of water on your head.

I adore you leaning over, blowing out the light;

Your lips will be my candle, burning through the night.

As is usual practice at the Multi-Service Center, a homeless shelter in the heart of San Francisco, I was sent out to recruit patients from the men’s floor.

My mother was never superstitious

until she lost faith in her body—

with each new opaque mass,

her doctors uncovered

another dark star.

She started aligning furniture

with compass rose gardens,

Let me die in winter

Let me die in solitude

past midnight

with a flask of spirits

a cigarette that won’t kill me

winking at the stars


Let me die with my back

Last night I was called
to the front lines
where life and death battle it out
and no one ever knows
who will stay, who will go
or what, in the end, it’s really all about

I lost you at hello

Scars knit
intended wounds
over time
under clothes
same as accidental


There are these two bugs – a caterpillar and an ant. Despite these differences, the two are best friends. They do everything together.

The root still lives

but the tooth is shaved off,

capped in plastic,

awaiting its crown of


not porcelain like the other two

but the GOLD

of Rushes, and bouillon,

One hour into my first ED shift, my attending suggested, “go in there, examine your first patient and tell me what you find.”

Instead of performing a physical exam, I listened to what Alejandra said:

threads of cloud drape the hill

     like lace over a crib

drops of cloud fill the puddle

     like pearls in a bowl of tea

drape my face

     fill my mouth

be not the cloud