“…the Chinantecs and Mixes of Oaxaca believe that a black dog will help the newly dead to cross a body of water, either a river or a sea, to the land of the dead.”

slow moon whimpering dog
black dog for being borne across
in the first story I ever wrote
my grandfather held you
and wept into your black coat

I come home for Thanksgiving
and you’ve died black thread
dangling from a downturned palm
I drive my grandfather to
the old house on the brick

porch still a long metal chain
noosed around a column
rusted tools and the nailgun
broken dishwasher in the yard
twenty years I spent living

next door through a warped
wooden portal in the fence
green unreflecting pool
at the bottom of the canal
still sits the slide I enjoyed

one summer before the hurricane
tore it away and sunk it
brought the parrot which learned
to speak my grandmother’s trembling
English now even the moon gone

just the enormous steel pot
of black beans boiling all Sunday
which my grandfather divides into seven
plastic containers and freezes
soup in the afternoon

over rice in the evening
tonight we fall asleep
on the couch watching the
Pacquiao fight on rerun
when I wake him he sits

at the kitchen counter
to inject insulin into that
small permanent wound
oval and dried blood black
like one of Luna’s eyes.


Greg Solano is a Cuban-American who writes of family in Miami, FL while living in Berkeley, CA. A graduate of the University of Virginia’s MFA program in Creative Writing, his poems have previously appeared in PANK Magazine, Different Interest and Expat Lit Journal.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Issue Nine, October 2014 | Matter

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