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Xochiqueztal Candelaria

Xochiqueztal Candelaria

Xochiqueztal Candelaria holds degrees from UC Berkeley and New York University and is a tenured faculty member at San Francisco City College. Her work has appeared in The Nation, New England Review, Gulf Coast, Seneca Review, and other magazines. In 2009, Ms. Candelaria received an NEA Fellowship, and her book, 1973, is forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press.

Many Years After

German Shepherds,      their muzzles wedged


between      fence posts,     growling     water pools in the empty           sound


of spruce trees, funneling           the light.


Hours ago, a family:  two towhead boys scrambled           ahead.


"You're not            far now"      the father said,       his leg


gashed      above the knee,           his wife wheezing.


Dead      leaves sound like           panting beneath      my feet.


Without entering a door,     I arrive           inside      

the right nave completely gone,     bleached planks     disappearing into dirt.


My body casts its          shadow      beneath a painting of shadows


barely visible           on a wall          scoured  by a blast.     


Did it begin     one night     as a whistle      only dogs          hear?     


A branch scrapes floor-boards,


in a wet staccato,      graffiti reading: COME CLOSER!


I want to     scrawl:          In Memory of Flight     


until  standing on a bench     I see bits of pigment     


holding together          the convert's


eyes,           the curves of          four dogs crouching.            It is almost


dark now.          The mouth      of Saint Jude          is a        scar.    .


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