from “Join Me”

Andrés Cerpa

                dear Colinwe do so much to hurt ourselves               when we left the Blue & Gold with the simple turnof your back & mine away from each otherthe city took over                I could not hear your voice & soon its bodya succession of so many lives we do not see                birds at midnight two riverschaos blurred & seamed                this dilated language somehow got connected to all that we dobut truly what do I know about my own life                & why nowmore light                more fucking lightremember                how since Homersince fire                everything old in everything flocks to another sunlit tree  it only recently became spring & already the shattered glass that lines this by-the-water road               where only teenagers & addicts & fishermen drinkhas disappeared                it's a damn good place to die                Carl didwhere the thigh-high weeds gut fish in the wind                & laughter rises like blood through the texture of a sockthe trail is sun-dyed overgrown & old                it is the rot we attempt to dispel                strengthened by oil& the black sand of a thousand chemistry sets                but everything comes backalive & in the process of mystery                another heron drives below the water to eat

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Andrés Cerpa is the author of The Vault, longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award: Poetry, and Bicycle in a Ransacked City: An Elegy from Alice James Books.

“In The Vault, his striking sophomore poetry collection, Andrés Cerpa is our Virgil, offering us a path through the dark realm of loss with fragments of unsent letters, indelible imagery, and exquisite language. … Cerpa has traveled a long way to return with this collection, and through his skillful writing, his unanswered missives offer their own reply.”
—Mandana Chaffa, Ploughshares

"The Vault sustains and energizes themes from the poet's previous work. But here merciless self-reflections sport a bladed edge—here are the intrepid musings of a man who has reckoned with grief and wrestled with the specter of longing. Muscular and melodic, these extraordinary poems establish Cerpa as a voice that's impossible to turn away from.”
—Patricia Smith

"Cerpa’s voice is one to follow, and if his future work is anything like the two books he has under his belt, we, as readers and students of a world that isn’t always ideal to our hearts, will no doubt feel compelled to learn from the ways in which Cerpa takes everyday tragedies and molds them into opportunities for empathy and growth.”
—Esteban Rodríguez, Adroit Journal

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