Steve Castro was born in San José, Costa Rica. His work can be found in Coldfront; Verse Daily: Web Weekly Features; Hobart (print); Paper Darts; Toad Suck Review; spork; etc. and is forthcoming in Zymbol and Latino/a Rising: An Anthology of U.S. Latino/a Speculative Fiction, alongside the likes of Junot Díaz, Ana Castillo and Daniel José Older. He holds an MFA in creative writing from American University in Washington, D.C., where he attended on a full scholarship. He’s the assistant poetry editor at decomP. For some reason, he only gets invited to read his poetry in two places, Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn, N.Y. His last poetry reading was on June 23, 2016 at the speakeasy, Hell Phone, in Brooklyn, which is being co-sponsored by 4 small presses, Nomadic Press, NYSAI Press, great weather for MEDIA and Rivet: The Journal of Writing That Risks.
Blood and pearls were raining from the sky.
As I sat on a wooden bench holding my umbrella
with my dominant hand, I couldn’t help
but to be reminded of your hazel eyes as they
watered while you carved your latest poem
on a giant red onion, or of your hair, thin and gray
like a three-year-old Eurasian Wolf locked inside a cage
and deprived of its meat by an anorexic zookeeper.
I’m going to plant your memories in my garden,
so that they’ll grow strong and tall like the Swiss bank accounts
of the murderous tobacco barons. I loved the fantastical tales
that you would write, among them the one about the silver grasshopper
the size of a newborn calf that you saddled inside a brothel in Tijuana.
I once had to remove a waiter’s gold tooth that penetrated my knuckles
outside of a café that only served conflict.
Pig in a poke
after Italo Calvino
The city of Chapulcukat doesn’t exist.
So when I arrived, I wasn’t greeted by anyone,
not even by my very own curiosity, which had left me
at the city gates in order to chase a stray dog named Gato.
The city of Chapulcukat had a god who wagered his soul
on a roll of the dice. As the dice bounced from the marble wall
onto the paved streets of gold paid by the patricide tax, the two dice
rolled to a stop with its snake eyes glaring at the city god
and its forked tongue tasting victory in the air. The god
was not the city, which meant that the god was the city, since
Chapulcukat doesn’t exist. In the distance, I saw a stray dog
in a rotating spit over a fire pit, the smell was also nonexistent.
“But I don’t understand,” he said, “how is it possible? I shot you right through the heart.”
I don’t have a heart, I replied.
“You heartless bastard,” he retorted.
He fired three more shots.
I was drowning in a pool of my own blood.
The lifeguard was conversing with a small breasted, voluptuous winged girl.
A rotund child cannonballed from the diving board into my crimson pool
as his parents screamed in horror.
UNSUPERVISED CHILD DROWNS IN POOL OF BLOOD.
PARENTS LOSE CUSTODY OF CHILD’S GHOST
read the front page headline of a local paper
“I didn’t know you didn’t have a heart,” I was told in the afterlife.
It’s a very long story, I said, but I’m prepared to tell it to you
since we have all the time in the world.
“Hold that thought,” he said, “I’ll be right back.”
I never saw that horned and hooved creature again.
I eventually realized, I had been talking to a liar.