Iliana Rocha

One-Night Stand with The Birds in the Background

He treated me like a blonde, all coy ingénue, powder-
blue eyeshadow smeared across my lids like a thumb chasing
away part of the horizon, rubbing it onto my face, the better
to see you with
, & you were like a crow attached to me with an elastic
band, wearing holes in the front door of my body until my future
daughter shrank into a pile of her own vomit, the only evacuation
route for such a hypothetical, & I was proto-synthesized birdcall
even though my skin has constantly rejected the outfit of feather,
our legs & arms, animated swarms, desire delicately contained like
a woman in a phone booth searching the bottom of her purse
for change to prevent silence & its deviant rupture, how the slap
of nickels connects us so dearly to our departed, & I argued for more
tongue & nipple as a way to communicate loss, but he would rather
rescue me instead, how one week’s worth of solitude feels like one
minute as if running on a treadmill to escape a whimper, Hedren’s
green suit & nude pumps, Hitchcock claimed, the sincerest things
about her.

Tequila, Cinnamon, Orange

My father, such a glamorous drunk,
carelessly exposing his green Bonneville
glitter to Highway 59’s thighs when he’d disappear for days.
Picked up the phone, said in his long-voweled cadence, I love you,
daughter, when-o, bye. I couldn’t get it any other way. So purposefully near
his crotch, his belt buckle: JR it demanded, inviting women into the purple or turquoise
of the late-‘80s of his Levi’s.
Like a secretary, he’d stiletto his boot
heels when he entered a room, inspect his cuticles after each morning coffee. He would
disappear again. Those nights, I never slept, but I managed something like
exhaustion picturing him in the backyard, leaning his machismo
against a fruit tree. He was never real but imperial,
always keeping the women up—like the white
towers of the sugar factory stinging
the night’s blank solitude—
never surprised by all
his sufferings.

Iliana Rocha is originally from Texas and is currently a PhD candidate in English-Creative Writing at Western Michigan University. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from Arizona State University, where she was Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. Her work was chosen for the Best New Poets 2014 anthology and has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Blackbird, Yalobusha Review, Puerto del Sol, and Third Coast. Her first book, Karankawa, won the 2014 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and is available through the University of Pittsburgh Press.