Two Ekphrastic Poems by N. Gonzalez


A Miami native, Natalia Gonzalez is currently a student at Brandeis University in Boston. She aims to focus her academic career on Latin American Politics and Literature. During her free time, she enjoys writing, painting and planning trips she can’t afford.

The following ekphrastic poems are based on Ana Mendieta’s “Sweating Blood” series, Galerie Lelong – New York.

november 25

after several lifetimes, the horse had finally fallen.
a boat ride away, the streets of miami came alive
as all the squirrels and rabbits came out to dance,
salsaing to the beat of the Afro Cuban drum,
not to celebrate death
but rather, to celebrate freedom.
they say that no corpse can live past 100 years;
nor can any evil.
i watched my father kiss my mother for the first time
since i was a child,
their smiles pressed against one another as
their joyful tears blended together.

nonetheless,
the blood that seeps from the hairline of Ana Mendieta
looks far too similar to the blood that still remains under the hoof.
the horse had outlived my grandfather.
a man who screamed even when he struggled for breath under that very hoof.
the gasoline from the old cars always seemed to get caught in his lungs,
blood on the streets,
the sugar now left a bitter taste,
sitting in a cell that would never feel like home
and tending to a land that was no longer his,
seemed to leave more blisters than usual.

and so, as the sun began to set on my side of the world,
the colors of the sky waved at me like those of my mother’s flag.
the sky was lined with blue and white clouds,
blue and white lines
and the sun was a blazing, mesmerizing red.
my sun was setting.
but 90 miles away, i could taste it beginning to rise.

red and white love

our love was a wine bottle
that hadn’t been in the cellar for quite enough time.
i make a home here so i can sit and watch it age.
time mocks me for being so naive,
for craving it’s bitter sweet taste more and more with each passing day.
i lift the glass to my lips
and rather than the bittersweet taste of fermented grapes,
i gulp down the rustic, metallic taste of my own blood.

my sweaty palms grip onto each other in the name of prayer,
fingers turning red from the remembering.
i am waiting for a boy to become a man
and for a man to become a human.

Sarah Ottens,
you’re more than a shattered glass
that the world held with bare hands.
you should’ve been loved like all beautiful broken things,
held with feathers for fingers
and with endless kisses that doubled as bandages,
putting you back together
piece by piece.

it is in that very waiting room,
feet tapping against the tile floor,
heart anxiously beating in anticipation,
that i am watching myself become
the person i never knew.
you spilled some wine on my puzzle
and now my pieces are stained, soaking.
they no longer fit well together.

no more red or white love for me thank you,
i’ve swallowed the bottle whole.

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