Posts Tagged ‘Celia Lisset Alvarez’


May 7, 2010 4 comments

by Celia Lisset Alvarez

All the vampires walking through the valley
move west down Ventura Boulevard,
and all the bad boys are standing in the shadows,
all the good girls are home with broken hearts.

—Tom Petty

They walk the mall in packs. Last year it was
covens—groups of girls or boys—
never mixed. In their minds they are walking
slower than the others. They do not go
into any stores. They have no money.
They never speak to each other,
arrive after dark, leave before nine.
The boys go home and touch themselves. The girls

read their book, repeating scenes like spells.
By morning, most discard their capes,
wait at bus stops in their usual uniforms—
jeans, T-shirts, sneakers their parents
might have worn, hand-me-down backpacks full
of textbooks underlined or highlighted
by brothers and sisters graduated
last year, or the year before that. A few

wear their blacks to school, don’t wash their hair, smell
of cloves. Last night one of them climbed a tree
outside the window, a girl, an oak. She
stayed there till dawn, scanning the street.
When she was sure there were no vampires, she climbed
back through her window and went to sleep.
She missed the school bus that morning. All day
she stayed in bed, pretending to be sick.

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Celia Lisset Alvarez teaches and writes in Miami, Florida. She has two collections of poetry, Shapeshifting (Spire Press, 2006) and The Stones (Finishing Line Press, 2006). Her work has most recently appeared in Blood Lotus, Fringe, and Fifth Wednesday Journal. She teaches composition, creative, and scientific writing at St. Thomas University.


June 12, 2008 5 comments

The lawn is lemon-yellow, a knee of the house,
not scraped but sunburnt, tight. No words can
recall its Florida winter, those choices between
cold and wet. I don’t care if I get fined, my
mother says, and puts her finger to the mouth of
the hose to fan the hot water over her collection
of spider plants.

At night I can hear the crickets watching me,
posed weightless on the leaves. They do not
breathe, nor do I, nor do we sleep. The back yard
holds its breath, silent, not hot, but dark.

The brass rim of the hose burns my thigh, leaves
a pink welt, like a kiss. I want to hold it over my
head and let it flow down my neck, down my
shirt, but I am afraid. I feel the hose stiffen. With
just one squeeze from my hand, it would burst.

The umbrella tree loses its leaves first, the yard
is littered with its beached canoes. Then the
palms. My mother pulls the oranged fronds from
the crowded trunk, her brown shoulders growing
large and square. I don’t know how much longer
I can take this,
she says, drinking from the hose,
which she’s left running all morning, the water
pooling around her ankles.

by Celia Lisset Alvarez

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