Poetry: For Ayotzinapa by Matty Layne Glasgow

Poetry and tragedy cannot be divorced. With “For Ayotzinapa,” this is abundantly clear. Matty Layne Glasgow writes a commanding tribute to the students who lost their lives a handful of years ago—commanding our attention with dryly cut images and visual language that targets the nerve endings in our neck, our “leaf blossom fingers,” our bones.


For Ayotzinapa

+++++++++++++On September 26, 2014, 43 students from the
+++++++++++++Raúl Isidro Burgos Normal School of Ayotzinapa
+++++++++++++were detained by local police in Iguala, Guerrero.
+++++++++++++They were never seen again.

when you left +++I bathed
the baby in the kitchen sink
he turned to ashes in my arms
that’s how I learned
to be covered in loss

to wear it +++like the black
hood +++tied around
your neck, hands bound
to be severed +++++fingers
plunged into the red soil

your eyes opened to a star-
less night sky +++but you
didn’t need the sun
++to burn ++now i feel
the heat in every sunrise

& look ++out the window
to where our state cut you
down, your limbs down, your
trunk & body & leaf blossom
fingers down +++heart down

i found it ++in the riverbed
char-soaked from a narco
blaze +the kind that smells
like it don’t give a fuck like
our state belongs ++to him

I knew where to bury you
to make you grow ++again
so you disappeared once
more ++beneath this land
of bone chips & dried flesh

i’d never watched a man
rise ++pull himself out
of the earth
body & branches +++still
covered in ash that’s how

you learned to live again
i haven’t looked out
the window since that day
too afraid +++of what
I might see +the way

you stand +rooted in death
& feel the wind blow right
through you ++like bullets



Matty Layne Glasgow

Matty Layne Glasgow is a queer pixie of a poet and MFA Candidate in Creative Writing & Environment at Iowa State University where he served as the Poetry Editor for Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment. Matty’s work has appeared or is forthcoming from journals here and there, including BOAAT, The Collagist, Rattle, Muzzle Magazine, Wildness, and elsewhere. He presently reads poetry for The Adroit Journal.

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