Mario Duarte

Spring of the Robot

You press your ear to the crumbling floor:
oh no, termites! Isabell sleepwalks by you.
“Mentiroso!” she calls you, avoiding furniture.

“Stop!” you shout. “Isabell, mi amor, wake up!"
You trip over your own feet chasing her.
She unlocks the door without looking back.

Into a whitewashed dawn, you stumble out.
A cardinal in a snowy lilac bush warbles
notes that cannonade your old corazΓ³n.

Robot, your systems are malfunctioning.
Your crushed circuits, smoking wires, metal
melt, twist, blooming into drooping lilies.

On the sidewalk, you crawl, unable to wave
as she recedes into the red-shifting dawn
until she is only a shadow then nothing.

Broken, your memory sparks with your first beso,
fingers the contours of her face, the arc
of her lips, and the rise and fall of her chest.

About the Author

Mario Duarte is a Mexican-American writer and a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His poems and short stories have appeared in 2River Review, Abstract Elephant, American Writers Review, Bilingual/Borderless, Digging Through the Fat, Lunch Ticket, Pank, Rigorous, Sky Island Journal, Plainsongs, Write Launch and Typishly, with new work forthcoming in Aaduna, Emerald City, and Zone 3.