Two Poems

by Tomas Moniz
what things will do to survive

my father called me over    bent down    eye to eye    he stared at me    i tried to escape    i knew
the tricks he played    later i’d come to know these as attempts to love    he held me close in the
yard    he said
mijo i found you something    in his palm    a vibrant green chameleon    in the
process of changing to earthy brown    the color of my dad’s skin    he said
grab the tail    i did
my father let it go    i felt the lizard swing    sway    then watched the body fall    the tail left
wiggling in my fingers    i screamed
    dropped it    put hand to mouth    my dad said like fact
you killed it boy    he picked up the tail     still thrashing    still acting as if it was complete    a
whole body    he tried to give it to me & said   
stop crying    the lizard’s fine     but it’s crazy
what things will do    to survive 

broken circles

i used to hate round things    my dad telling me make a fist   circular & solid   punching me to
show how hard a closed hand could be    made us eggs sunday mornings    fried & flat & round

he had circle tattoos on his hands that didn’t connect    a mistake he called them    voice locked
& tight   

how to heal a broken man                how to close the loop                   how not to break

my lover laughed at my story    said the opposite was true    the world works in broken &
imperfect circles    like arms hugging    a baby’s toothless smile    the way a dog spins around & around before sleeping    the word
moon sung by nick drake    the soft & rounded edges of the
adobe home

my grandmother was born in            the fat & plump sopapillas            my tia makes   

one morning my son gathered blue eggs from our new chickens    we marvelled at their warmth feathers still stuck to shell    cradling them in the half circles of our palms like precious things