Two Poems by Elisa Albo

BOMB 65 Fall 1998
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Epicurean Portraits

You tasted of caramel,
caramelo the hue of honey,
skin confection, sweet
cream. You rubbed
the hazelnut on my wrist,
took it into your mouth,
traced a trajectory
to my shoulder,
breastbone, nape.
You bit like tasting
a berry, picky,
with the tips of your
fine white teeth.

Peeled of my skin,
I once leaned into
the doorjamb, lifted
my thigh, held it high
for you to sketch
the lower angle,
your favorite puntica,
like a toast point,
crust trimmed.

Artist, creator,
when did you start
eating your creations?
You dented pots,
shorted out appliances,
ruined counter tops—
all for artistic effect.

I could see that—
until you set the whole
mess on fire, leaving
a charred smell,
smoke like a ripped
curtain, shreds
of canvas, flesh—
all fit for your collage,
nothing, no one
ever lost or wasted.

I’ll begin again.
You tasted of ashes.


After the Fight

She watches him slip out

          to the kitchen and open

               the freezer door. The cold


air like vapor from dry ice

          streams out around his body,

               his hips and legs, all she


can see, the half not hidden

          by the half door. He stands

               there, motionless, hungry


or thirsty or unsure. Lying

          on the bed, watching him,

               she imagines that everyone


is wrong about hell—fire,

          sooner or later, burns itself

               out. Hell is frozen. Wind


chills and dries out

          the bones, ice traps

               and preserves forever.

Elisa Albo was born in Havana, Cuba. She received an MFA from Florida International University. Her work has appeared in Poetry East, the South Florida Poetry Review,Zingmagazine and other journals. She teaches English, ESL, and creative writing at Broward Community College in Hollywood, Florida. She lives in North Miami Beach, where she is working on her first collection of poetry, What Memory Hears.

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She was coming out of the library when she saw him. Their paths had crossed a couple of times before. Three, to be exact. More or less under the same circumstances. He was riding an orange bicycle, and a little girl was standing behind him on the pannier rack.

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Poeta 1

El Salvador’s foremost living poet reflects on a long career, from his involvement in revolutionary literary activities of the ’60s and ’70s to grappling with today’s political and educational crises.

Originally published in

BOMB 65, Fall 1998

Featuring interviews with Yusef Komunyakaa & Paul Muldoon, Ian McKellen, Sam Taylor-Wood, Thomas Nozkowski, Geoffrey O’Brien, Alexander Nehamas, and Mark Richard.

Read the issue
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