Cecilia Lee


You weren’t there, but late at night,

As the wind pressed open the window and 

Blew in our neighbors’ arguing, 

I could pretend you were. 


Last I’d heard,

You were making a living by the border,

Wandering through Lemon Groves

And fixing up bicycles for the mango

It was too hot for even the thinnest sheets,

So I poured glasses of water onto my bed and
lay down.

Sink water mixed with my own sweat, 

I didn’t know I could miss you this bad. 


You’d be up with me if you were here, I just
know it,

And you’d be lecturing me on Reagan and the
Cold War and other things I don’t care about,

But I’d listen because it’d be you. 

Instead, I’m sweaty and this breeze is too hot
to do anyone any good,

And no one knows where you are. 

Every once in a while, Mom will have an

But her uncertainty’s in her brows — I know
you know what I mean.


I wonder if the Spirit leads you through the
lemon orchard late at night,

Your skin smelling of Menudo and weed and
the cologne I got you last Christmas,

And I wonder if you trip on the tree roots and
the wheelbarrow ruts. 

Does the Spirit remind you of me? Of my
brother? I hope so. 


It’s your fault, this buzzing heat 

That sneaks in and creeps into every corner of
this house. 

Is Mom awake? I doubt she is. 

She’s good at sleeping when it’s hot and dry
and sleeping seems impossible. 


It’s three in the morning and I remember that 

If you were here,

You’d be brewing coffee and reading
yesterday’s paper. 

You didn’t make any sense to me. Maybe you
never will. 

Tonight, a bitterness drifts in with the breeze,

Weighing it down, like you do to me.


The whole world must be hot and the whole
world must be up

And the whole world must be tired of
wondering where the hell you are.