Three Poems for Inauguration Day: ‘I Used to Be Much Much Darker’ by Francisco X. Alarcón

I used to be
much much darker
dark as la tierra
recién llovida
& dark was all
I ever wanted:
dark tropical
mountains
dark daring
eyes
dark tender lips
& I would sing
dark
dream dark
talk only dark

happiness
was to spend
whole
afternoons
tirado como foca
bajo el sol
“you’re already
so dark
muy prieto
too indio!”
some would lash
at my happy
darkness but
I could only
smile back

now I’m not as
dark as I once was
quizás sean
los años
maybe I’m too
far up north
not enough sun
not enough time
but anyway
up here “dark”
is only for
the ashes:
the stuff lonely nights
are made of.

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