It was hard for him that evening, together in bed,
the dog at their feet & the gentle procession of questioning.
She reaches across & touches his face,
pressing her forehead against his chest.
She was listening for bruises: for the crushed
that left the boy staggering for the rest
of his life, colored blue and hesitant for love.
What would you like to hear, corazón? He asks.
How the truth battered my body,
covered my mouth with chapped hands,
turned me over & took me like a child
because I was—
He falls silent. She leans against his body.
He remembers the blood, how it covered his thighs,
how it dried so quickly in the frigid autumn air.
Darren Donate’s work represents Zacatecan life and peoples, depicting the dual struggles of migration and marginalization. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of New Mexico, while also working as an English teacher and welder.