A Mexican-American Novel

The novel I should be writing instead of this poem 
includes a protagonist with a mysterious scar slashed 
across his scrotum as well as numerous references 
to tax fraud, bruised fruits, and last names. A year-
in-the-life type of tale. In a pivotal September scene, 
he asks his father whether anything matters more than 
madness though the reader will know already his father’s 
mumble outweighs his smile. Amid the susurrations 
of his father’s tongue: a flashback to when the father crushed 
his son’s five-year-old fingers in the rising car window. 
The boy wanders from light source to light source: 
fluorescent moons, lanterns, candles, burnt-out bulbs 
hanging on grocery store ceilings, and the various deep purples 
of a beloved’s bedroom. I’m still working out how he’ll talk 
to lovers, but his legs will shake, bare but for goosebumps 
rising around his knee. The novel, pending my tolerance
for the ethereal, might include one dream sequence in which 
the protagonist imagines himself pulled apart, limb 
from limb, by faceless villains using a medieval rack. 
In the first paragraph, the boy presses a guitar back 
in its cloth case. By the end of the year, the reader will 
see what symbolizes great human suffering and what 
remains of their ordinary selves: a car, variegated 
teeth, door-to-door knife salesman, military 
recruiters, guacamole, broken backs.



Cover Art by Rebecca Pyle

Austin Araujo

Austin Araujo is a writer from northwest Arkansas. Currently an MFA candidate in poetry at Indiana University where he won an Academy of American Poets Prize, his poems appear or are forthcoming in The Missouri Review, Shenandoah, Memorious, and The Rumpus, among others.

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