Jacob Aplaca: Then It Comes True
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barefoot

sun beats from an Ewa sky and I am eleven—no longer ten—when

I come of age listening to

 

the little boy with no teeth tell me I have no friends because they

saw something in me and they hate it

 

I am mahu they say and I can’t cry because then it comes true and

so he runs away through red-dirt-dusted roads

 

runs away from me barefoot like all the others whose feet are dyed that

deep reddish-brown of Ewa dust

 

while I nurse rubber slippers on soft feet and look to where those

others stand down the road staring at me through

 

heat waves rising and dissipating as I lurk there circling the edges of

childhood’s death throes until at last

 

my desperation confuses itself with hope and for the first time I think

I know what I have to do

 

so I kick those slippers from my soft feet with awkward pomp and

watch their faces crack with half-smiles

 

or those glimpses of the something else I want so bad and I run to

them faster than they run away from me

 

but learn between overconfident steps what it means to expect too much

when my toe runs hard into the asphalt

 

and I fall to a ground that pulls blood out from fleshy skin

and tears from eyes suddenly tipped

 

upward towards the whiteness of a sky that tells me nothing more can be done

that all is settled and there is nothing to say


Originally from Oahu, Hawaii, Jacob Aplaca now lives in New York City where he teaches at Hunter College and pursues a PhD in English Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. His poetry has appeared in PANK Magazine and Impossible Archetype.