Maria Castro Dominguez (Western Voices 2022)

Bio: Maria Castro Dominguez is the author of 'A Face in The Crowd' her Erbacce–press winning collection and ‘Ten Truths from Wonderland’ (Hedgehog Poetry Press) a collaboration with poet Matt Duggan. She was the winner of the third prize in Brittle Star´s Poetry Competition in 2018. She was a finalist in the 2019 Stephen A DiBiase Poetry contest in NY and was highly commended in the Borderlines Poetry Competition in 2020. Her poems have appeared in many anthologies and journals such as Obsessed With Pipework, Apogee, The Long-Islander Huntington Journal, Popshot, PANK, Empty Mirror, The Chattahoochee Review and The Cortland Review.


I’m saving this for the unknowable future
because you mentioned the striped towel
on the phone. I’m remembering again that day
we went to the beach.

I picked you up and drove, 
you giving me the directions to follow
whilst you slid your palm over my thigh
and said you had a surprise: 
you showed me snorkelling goggles and fins.
We swam under the beddings of sea
and saw fish hesitating to get close.

(by the way - I’m folding all this in my backroom  
in a space meant for storing)

I remember how under water tiny oxygen bubbles 
clung to your arm’s soft hairs spangling them;
 your soft hairs sweeping like seagrass along the muscle, 
lifting a little in the midday tide.

Afterwards we lay in the sun,
your cleft chin dusted in sand 
your green eyes quiet.
Maybe it's what they don't say
that keeps us safe.

On a quay a shipment 
of immigrants 
salt heavy

unloaded onto cracked cold stone 
directed by police to sit, to stand 
to queue

and wait each morning
for someone official to come

for tattered human packets
transported on wooden boats 
with holes, loaded

onto tourist buses 
distracted, unattracted to quick
landscape vistas, stunned

by a place that isn’t home, 
its strange sun 
scorching their skin

shading a path
under their eyes, white
tidemarks of salt.

Mother’s Nature

My hand fits in yours like a snug coat.
You’d show me off in your mountain village
where houses were kept unlocked,
take me to the gothic church whose bells 
shattered dreams at five o’clock.

Once I dipped my fingers in the holy water 
stoup and screamed, they came out covered 
in spiders’ webs and feather-stuck.
You smiled and brushed it off, made the sign
of the cross telling me spiders also belonged 

in God’s house. You brought aniseed tea to my bedside 
with a swirl of rosemary and I would dream about you 
(as I still do now) 
not wearing a black apron and hard espadrille shoes, 
but a dress of many creatures, of olive sprigs and birds.

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