Xochiquetzal Candelaria

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Xochiquetzal Candelaria

Between Us

It rained
and the sea-birds came

for the one still alive
and the one newly dead.

The quiet night
smelled of digging.

We gave and gave
until daybreak bled.

The one newly dead in her last moments
tried to rise as if death were sky.

The one still alive drags a heavy thing
through a drafty hall and into a wet entrance.

It rains ash
like little larynxes on the waves.

It rains sea-birds
picking at plastic on shifting dunes.

Xochiquetzal Candelaria reads “Between Us”


Xochiquetzal Candelaria’s book Empire was published by University of Arizona Press. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Tin House, New England Review, and other magazines. She is the recipient of awards including an NEA Fellowship in Poetry and grants from the Vermont Studio Center, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and the LEF Foundation. Her poetry and essays have been anthologized, most recently in Other Musics: New Latina Poetry, The Poetry of Capital, and The Awesome Difficult Work of Love: June Jordan’s Legacy. She has poems forthcoming in Colorado Review.