Fall 2016, Volume 21

Poetry by AJ Urquidi

Repressed But Not Forgotten

From the year I lived in a tree I can’t recall
a thing. The worst must
have happened up there. Now I live on a beach

and days pass like bleach through a storm drain.
Fathers walk their predictable
infants before the cobalt waves’ cannoliesque

grandeur, preparing them for the great auction
block of adolescence.
After what unknowns I’ve been through, sand

in the toenail is the least of my worries. Sometimes
when I see young
couples feed each other acorns and sticks, I dread

an anxious sensation and swallow. Other times
sacks of fallen leaves
loom at me from garages and alleys like medical waste

leaching into the loam. Yet I can’t recall my time in the trees.
Maybe it was eucalyptus,
but I fear—above all—it may have been a live oak grove.

A rainy night stands out, and wind rustling twigs
in particular. Good god,
it’s so close and it’s awful! Tonight the lighthouse beckons

me to forget my roots and peel out loosely into the fog.
But by morning, driftwood bobbing
at my porch sends a fortifying shudder down my skull.




BIO: Originally from Monterey, CA, AJ Urquidi has studied poetry in Los Angeles and New York City. His poems have appeared in such journals as Chiron Review, Foothill, and Thin Air, been nominated for Ina Coolbrith and Pushcart Prizes, and won the Gerald Locklin Writing Prize. He has led creative writing workshops at CSULB and Beyond Baroque in Venice Beach. He lives in Long Beach where he edits indicia: an online journal and investigates grammar for the Los Angeles Review of Books.