“Genealogy.” A Poem by Aldo Amparán

From the New Collection Brother Sleep

September 15, 2022  By Aldo Amparán

This is one of the seven lies: I grew to love
the absence. Months before I was born, my mother

says, a man came home to dig out the dead
maple tree in the backyard. Says when she was seven

the branch that held her in a swing split, like her knee
with the fall. I took

my shadow for a sibling
for the longest time. I carried the dead

in my tonsils. One dull midnight
in August, absence

boiled my skin to purple seeds: fevers
high enough to stretch the horizon on my face.

My grandmother pressed the cold
eggshell against my skin. I felt her

prayers shift the air, the candle’s burning
In the nightstand, her rosary crackling as she broke

the tainted yolk
into the glass. Mira, she said,

& I looked: yellow leaking the red
dots of absence which I bore: my mother’s

dead tree: loose soil in the backyard:
my father’s face looking back.


brother sleep

“Genealogy” from Brother Sleep by Aldo Amparán, Alice James Books, 2022.

Aldo Amparán
Aldo Amparán
Aldo Amparán is a poet, writer, & translator born & raised in the border cities of El Paso, TX, USA, & Ciudad Juárez, CH, MX. They are the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts & CantoMundo. Their work has been widely published in anthologies and literary journals including AGNI, Best New Poets, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review Online, Ploughshares, Poetry Magazine, & elsewhere. They hold an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Texas at El Paso.

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