Sergio A. Ortiz



I hereby request to be canonized
in the Holy Church of Love.

A man swore eternal love,
but his love was hell on earth.
I have more stigmata on my body
than those required by your Church,
greater tears than those expressed in cubic centimeters
by any of the aspirants to be consecrated,
greater number of hours of insomnia,
& on my knees so many eloquent calluses
that my friends call me:
Adela the genuflect.

One night
he made me walk like a bitch,
meow like a cat,
cry like a teenage girl
and sing like an old woman.

Another night
he forced me to kiss the portrait of his beloved.
I thought that maybe
he forced his beloved to kiss mine.
That same night ―you do not know
how sorry I am to write this,
he screamed & called me a degenerate whore.

As for the requirement demanded by the Church:
You will love even if they grind you with rocks,
I can assure you that my love is immeasurable.
That man is my Greatest Good.

So, having been humiliated,
offended, vilified, set aside, & vexed;
having been confined to that strange latitude
which is: dead in life.

I, Adela Sobá, in full measure of my mental faculties,
humbly ask to be canonized as a lay saint
with the right to appear on the altars of horror.


The Sword and the Wall 


Nobody likes to be between 
the sword and the wall.

When you’re in that trance 
life tastes like vinegar.

When you knock on a door 
your ass opens.

If you scream for help 
sharp blades answer,

fragments form
an unspeakable monster.

You’re alive and you’re dead,
you’re awake and dreaming.

You look at your opponent, 
who is the guardian of your equilibrium,

beg him not to weigh you
but he puts you on his plate.

Your heart and gut, dust and horror. 
While the sky shines, your picture

darkens.  The wall closes
like theatre curtains. Your Act is over.

Sergio A. Ortiz
is a Puerto Rican poet and the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review.  He is currently working on his first full length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.

Editor’s note: If you enjoyed this poet’s words and if you are able, please donate to hurricane relief for Puerto Rico.

Author: Jake Byrne

Poetry editor.