Poetry: from Fear of Intimacy, Fear of Want by Andrés Cerpa

Pulled from a longer manuscript to be published soon, these two poems from “Fear of Intimacy, Fear of Want” speak to the depths of that longer work. Beyond the fresh body imagery, these poems evoke place with precision and delicacy, a place haunted by human relationships, friendship, tragedy. There’s history in these few lines—we dare the reader not to leave them wanting more.


from Fear of Intimacy, Fear of Want

It only recently became spring, & already the shattered glass that lines this by-the-water-road

where only teenagers addicts & fishermen drink,

has disappeared.

It’s a damn good place to die.

Carl did,

where the thigh high weeds gut fish in the wind

& where laughter rises like blood through the texture of a sock.

The trail is sun-dyed overgrown & old,

it is the rot we attempt to dispel,

strengthened by oil, & the black sand of a thousand chemistry sets.

But everything comes back. Alive & in the process of mystery,

another heron dives below the water to eat.



from Fear of Intimacy, Fear of Want

the concentration of stones is derived from how they whittle away


the birch that reached too far for an alley of light

how the spine as it showed through her skin mimicked

the broken off branches

when she bent down to take off her shoes

the way it took so long to reach the gorge upriver

how we selected each foothold

plotted to reach

less pain the mantra of less pain

our bare feet so unused to the river

the ground



Andrés Cerpa

Andrés Cerpa is the author of Elegy with a Bicycle in a Ransacked City, forthcoming from Alice James Books (January 2019). A recipient of a fellowship from the McDowell Colony, Canto Mundo, and a scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, The Bellevue Literary Review, Gulf Coast, Third Coast, Perigee, Radar Poetry, The Shallow Ends, TriQuarterly, Horsethief, West Branch, and RHINO, which selected his poem, "At the Tree Line" for their 2017 Editors' Prize.

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