I asked about desire

I asked about desire


In this version of my dream, my father quizzes me

with flashcards: What is cytokinesis? What are the stages of mitosis?


I know all the answers, until his animals

sprint from the medicine cabinet:


hallux tearing my temples,

vibrissa smashing my neck.


My mother doesn’t know what time it is.

She turns over and tugs on her eye mask.


Who will save me?

My sister is playing a mean game of jacks.


My sister is pretending father

is the kind man from the store—


the one that gives her a toy

from the discount rack.


There is no one to save me.

I’m free to pretend this is an earthquake drill.


Huddle across metaled sarcophagus.

Please look away—


many-footed canidae are coming

to roister by the carcass                         out of habit.

Dorsía Smith Silva is a poetry editor of The Hopper and professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. She is also the editor of Latina/Chicana Mothering and coeditor of seven books. Her recent poems appear in several journals, including Denver Quarterly, Cream City Review, and Fourteen Hills. CavanKerry will publish her poetry book in 2024 and she posts @DSmithSilva.