Devil’s Lake

Spring 2017 Issue

Analicia Sotelo: My Father’s Lover Lodged in Glass

There is a sleeping woman in this room.

Do not ask her name.

She is dangling her head from the cliff

of a bed. She wants you

to pay attention.

~

Last year, I met a photographer.

He said, I don’t think we should continue.

I said,

Where is the light for this room?

~

I gave the photographer a piece of glass from under my father’s bed.

I thought it could be wrong.

I said, See? She’s bathing.

Who’s bathing?

Some blonde woman my father knew.

And now I’m with you.

The photographer holds the glass to his bluish eye.

She looks nothing like you. She doesn’t even have a face.

Of course not, I say.

He cuts me off with a kiss.

~

I dream my father asks to read what I’ve written. Like he remembers my age and where I live. I have these nightmares where he explains himself. When I wake, light floods my room from a crack beneath the door.

~

I stopped painting because the turpentine

seeped into my fingers and hurt.

The photographer doesn’t believe me.

You stopped painting because you couldn’t handle

seeing yourself over and over.

~

This is not for the photographer.

I’m saying there is a sky

and there are figures caught in air,

fleeing from water.

~

My mother tells me to be still. She tries to paint me as though I’m balancing on a wire fence, so I must stand on a chair, my legs at an angle, and look at something distant that isn’t there.

~

There is no photographer.

There is a man who talks to me

occasionally,

but he is part invention.

Like my father.

The other day I wanted to ask him, in Spanish,

Do you think it’s possible I’m attached to the dark?

But because he knows more of my language than I do,

he hears: It’s only in the dark that we’re possible.

~

A woman stands behind a wire fence,

open-legged on a wooden chair.

I shake the glass; she falls on dirt,

onto the bricks and ants of my childhood.

She’s there. Why should I care?

I’m the one holding it together.

The Single Girl’s Rest Cure

The fiancées were like physcians

cutting right down to the diamonds

They said love is like milk

spilling everywhere

They said love is like steak

it’s best when rare

They said help yourself now

before your stock runs out

I said: I’m 25 on purpose

I said: I’m hungry, but not that hungry

I said: There’s the grave, there it is

holding a bouquet of weeds, proposing a life together

They said relax

They said relax

sleeping helps and later, gardens & newborns

I said: I’m getting out of here I said: You’re all divorcing

They said what about strawberries and cream

They said what about codependency it isn’t that bad

They said don’t read into it just be careful what you read

I said: I am careful that’s what I’m here for

a photo of the author, Analicia Sotelo ANALICIA SOTELO is the author of Virgin, the inaugural winner of the Jake Adam York Prize, selected by Ross Gay (Milkweed Editions, 2018). She is also the author of the chapbook Nonstop Godhead, selected by Rigoberto Gonz├ílez for a 2016 Poetry Society of America National Chapbook Fellowship. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the New Yorker, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Iowa Review, The Antioch Review, and Best New Poets 2015. She is the 2016 DISQUIET International Literary Prize winner in poetry and is the recipient of scholarships from the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Image Text Ithaca Symposium. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Houston. More from this issue >