In my father’s study, on the highest floor,
the morning light crashes against the windows.
He walks up there in red plaid slippers.
When he moves in his chair, the pneumatic pump
squeaks all the way down to the basement,
along with the taca taca taca of his keyboard.
His fingers strike the buttons so quickly
my mother calls it ametralladora
literaria. His hands loaded with letters,
ready to fire at the work stacked up
since the day he came to America.
Steady pay is the only way we’ll make it
to next month. On the cracked floorboards,
the corpses of dead ladybugs. Their shells
still glossy like lollipops. They pile up
underneath the windowsills and on his desk.
They spend their last flights repeatedly crashing
into the windows, hoping to be freed,
until the impact finally breaks them.
Alejandro Lemus-Gomez was born in Miami, the son of Cuban exiles, and now lives in the rural Appalachian Mountains. He is the 2017 recipient of the Rhina P. Espaillat Award from West Chester University and the 2018 winner of the Agnes Scott Writers’ Festival Contest in poetry. He studies English and philosophy at Young Harris College in North Georgia. His poetry is forthcoming in storySouth, Reunion: The Dallas Review, and other journals.