Craig Santos Perez

May 29, 2009

[a figure against limit]

We’ve survived the long rain
only to wander around the edges

of a gutted house.
Maybe the non-carved figures

approaching are dead
speech: the flaw

of what must be said,
a fissure against ‘limit.’ We

want to believe ‘gravity’
means nothing can define

the sky, that ‘land’ is no longer
propertied. Old nets

lie in a heap; new nets
have too few eyes. It’s so difficult

to breathe we thought
we should’ve been blind.

[recurring dream]

In high tide, we forage
some recurring dream.
They say, ‘what is unconscious remains
unalterable.’ Instead, we find the binaries
we inherit, our bodies in the long list
of the world, ‘blood under current.’
They say, ‘no place, not even if wild,
is a place until discovery.’
We perfect the signs
of the cross; the harmony
of facade diverts our eyes.
They say, ‘no place is a place until things
have happened in it.’
The past has fallen hostage
to the tense, which summons
us here. They say, ‘you’re slipping
out of antecedence.’
We grow into the shape
of what’s removed,
into the song that accepts all
preceding territories.


Craig Santos Perez is a co-founder of Achiote Press ( and author of from unincorporated territory [hacha] (Tinfish Press, 2008). His poetry, essays, reviews, and translations have appeared in New American Writing, Pleiades, The Denver Quarterly, The Colorado Review, and ZYZZYVA, among others. He blogs at

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