What the Banger Said to the Ghost by Frankie Soto

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

Lately, this machete has me missing
sharpening a pencil with the same cuchillo
green plantains are peeled with.

The immigrant in me involuntarily surfaces without
notice. Its white pants on a junior high school 

girl ambushed by womanhood.  I have no outfit
that can disguise this accent. 

The only books I will read are the bibles that were
read at your service. Where GOD wasn’t fast enough

to shield your limbs from the hacks that left your casket
closed.  I have stood over bloodied bodies seeking refuge

for obedience.  There are promotions given for decimating
the flesh of a rival with such ferocity my mother doesn’t
recognize my voice anymore. Says my hands feel like the Devils
toolbox but as long as I am gifting souvenirs with the tongues

of enemies, I am keeping hers intact, safe.   

I thought if we ran fast enough the monsters of our
country would find boredom in the chase.  Today I
have bought myself time with a pulse. I have saved my

bones from being a junkyard of parts to rummage for
identity. I made you an offering. A head toppling over
Mayan stairs to return the sun.  You are a son I can 

never return from Ghost.  I am just flesh waiting for the
blade of a jagged machete to call me vengeance. To join you
in a place where I don’t have to run from my accent.

Where my mother’s tongue remains. Learning to sing
any song other than mourning.  Finally free of the monsters
that chased her from her country and of the one
that grew in her home. 

Photo of Frankie Soto

Photo of Frankie Soto

New York Times proclaimed Frankie A. Soto “A FORCE." He was awarded the 2016 Multicultural Poet of the Year and has used his platform to engage and inspire with his delivery, words and presence. He has toured at over 120 Colleges/Universities and continues to tour currently. His HIV poem “Guessing Game” was nominated and premiered for the Atlanta Hip Hop Film Festival. He is the founder of Inspire Legacy Shirts and his work can be read and seen here.  He Frankie has previously published two collections of poetry: A Weed in a Garden of Extraordinary Flowers and Forever Is Not Enough. His 3rd book, The Places We Forget To Travel, will be releasing later in 2018.