Look Back / Mateo Lara


For S


I can never give you what you want he says to me

Endurance full pause—noun—withstanding

What do we ever have to give? Deliverance

Sacrificial lamb to slaughter, glinting glossy eyes

Like this—we don’t really know, even as he says he does

One less hurt body to think about.

The feeling won’t be there forever, another glance

Then the torrent comes, toughen-up stirs

Shards slicing skin, truth rip flesh

Pain obscured by choice-cut words or two

Into the ether I bleed out, mind tangled-tizzy

Up in a horror fashion, split like the murderer you could become

Have become, will become, how long do we last in a space like this?

I haven’t the slightest angle to beam light and bounce off of this meaning-meant

A little more, mangled upon impact, what I want is love

If we cannot give that, what did God ever do for us?

Says the problem is drinking, and each abuse does not condone

Hurtful lines to the thread or vine, piercing straight between us

Some high fantasy clanging out, he felt like a puppy dog

Felt cheated out, felt crucial border crossed out into my heart

Pour into & what did they ever say between a man and woman

Or man and man, nothing like this, this is nothing to him

But problematic shuffling, so if we walk away

Reminisce on what you took and didn’t give—vice versa

All the stakes are stacked right here, interesting… thought pulse

Gone, the only thing that matters is the smog in a colored tomb, look back.


Mateo Lara is from Bakersfield, California. He has a chapbook, X, Marks the Spot available on Amazon. His poems have been featured in Orpheus, EOAGH, Empty Mirror, and The New Engagement. He is an editor for RabidOak online literary journal.