David Campos graduated from California State University of Fresno in 2010 and now resides in Riverside, Ca.
He was the co-host of the literary radio show Pakatelas on KFCF 88.1 FM Fresno from 2009-2011. His work has recently appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Packinghouse Review, and Verdad among others.
Where The Sirens Go
Mother’s voice cracks when she orders us into our rooms.
The toy fire truck tumbles down the staircase,
batteries spilling onto steps, a piece of wet bolillo stuck
in my little brother’s throat, his lips turning
the color of the end of dusk. Raise the sun!
The wheels on the fire truck keep spinning
and these eyes watch mother dig into his mouth.
Dad cries at the bottom of the stairs and picks up the batteries
as mother digs out breath. The fire truck is broken.
The Escape Button
My student’s grades need to be turned in
but I’m afraid of the stories that may follow—
before dawn, father would say, I milked the cows,
put the jugs on the side of the horse, and slept
while I rode into Tilzapotla to sell the milk,
and with some change, buy warm pan dulce before school.
I stopped seeing the grades and saw nothing but stories.
An “A-” weeps under the shadow of her mother.
A solid “D” slaps across his face. There is no sweet
bread in me pressing the send button.
He can go fuck himself on his cross.
Enter, return, enter, same button.
Same stories command, control. Esc.
When The Cast Iron Iron Fell
Again, the doctor removes the ingrown toenail.
Eighth grade, dad gardens in the backyard
as the rusted cast iron iron falls from the bent nail
onto my big toe. The doctor says I need wider shoes.
Infection. The nail turned black, blood wept
from the cracks as I did. Dad just watched.
I tell the doctor I want to see the procedure done,
the clippers tearing through the nail, ripping it out
from the flesh. It’s time for you to act like a man,
said Father, and stop your crying—the doctor pierces
my foot with the needle. Even numb I still hear you.