Prodigal Glass

Nico Pablo

I recognize the malleability of glass

from a window 

when the car pulls out of absolute

darkness and leaves

the sickly pastel paint 

of these rented rooms 

that fail to mimic their floral namesakes. 


The man beside me pulls the stick

shift down and we hurtle

through the night.


Mother, is this how you expelled me

from your womb? Hand over prayer

over control, before letting go,

tasting the future of loss

as you brought me

to the light? 


Now I span latitudes 

in this journey,

cross rivers into slums,

enter side streets to escape

sight and traffic.


Mother, do not learn this city.

You will not bear the view

of me splayed,

threadbare and thin,

across the hands of a stranger.


Only when silica and shadow meet,

do I understand my reflection

in this prodigal glass.

Only when I am pinned between

another weight and mattress 

do I understand lightness.

Only when I am completely shed,

breath on a nape,

do I unburden pleasure.


But tonight, when I glance 

outside the car window, 

I remain unchanged

while the trees outside

bow to the rushing wind.

Maybe they recognize return

even before we do. 


Mother, I can see you

in the face a rosary bead,

like a tear.

Rest, I am going home to you 

tonight.


PROJECT GRACE-UP

NATIONAL LGBTQ+

WRITERS WORKSHOP