ARTEMISIO ROMERO Y CARVER

Artemisio Romero y Carver (she/her/hers)—a Miller Scholar, YoungArts Merit Award Winner for Spoken Word, and Santa Fe’s 2020 Youth Poet Laureate—has poems in Inlandia Literary Journal, Rigorous Literary Journal, Pasatiempo Magazine, Magma Poetry and elsewhere. She is anthologized in Dreams of Montezuma (Stalking Horse Press), Everything Feels Recent When You're Far Away (Axle Contemporary Press) and A Tiny Grain of Sand: The National Youth Poet Laureate Anthology 2021. Her 2020 essay for Tumbleweeds Magazine earned First Place in Specialty Articles from the New Mexico Press Women Communications Contest. She studies at Washington University in Saint Louis. ​ ...learn more



SELF PORTRAIT AS ARTEMISIA, WALKING TO CLASS


you could use these hips

as letter openers,

full lips

like a candleholder,

throat

like a spirit box

black hair in a bun

like a perched crow.

in a spacesuit made of home

adorned

like a Christmas tree, like celebration

like how Judith must have put on her hoops

before she went out to slay Holofernes.



MY SECOND FOURTH OF JULY POEM


this city (her city) is a drum kit, somehow fit in a dishwasher and then set to heavy

—timed, metal and ringing

your canyon was round like a body, a simile that is effectively incoherent in the Upper East Side but she doesn’t like when you call New England quaint, a trick you learned from your dad

who also told you, before you left for the summer: “you’ll know a true preppy by how he immediately insults you with something arguably ironic and feigned”

so dad said, in turn, to be “violently earnest,” and so now you do that,

with maybe too much zeal, and so then she takes you aside at the upstate lake

(that seems to you a beach) to tell you “sweetheart, you shouldn’t have escalated that” which is funny, cause uh, you wonder the same thing in a different way—

when you finally stop trying to tell her about the mountains or your ancestors (which in this context are essentially synonyms)

as she asks you, very reasonably, to not position yourself like a visiting professor at lunch and while she shows you her favorite part of the museum (the birds)

in what you know to be a future teapot memory. meaning a moment that in some later morning will scream at you and evaporate.



FOLK CATHOLIC, IN WHICH CHAVEZ IS A SAINT


The protest ends like a house party,

in that no one was sure when it ended

and a couple of stragglers are still

paranoid that the cops will intervene.

A short boy steps out of red dawn,

crossing our perimeter.

The tactical vest, the tactical knife

enough tactical pockets

to be equal parts man and backpack.

A pinball look bounces between all of us.

He offers, like a dog with a rat,

a folded American flag

while pointing to the newly circumcised

flagpole of the New Mexican State Capital Building:

the site of the Mexican-American War’s Moon Landing

(where a sheet claimed to own a frontier).

As my friend accepts the flag, I realize I have only ever looked up to it

since they have always flown it at height of a sky god

so that you would need wings to meet it as an equal.

The boy leaves without a word.



YOU KNOW, THOSE WOMEN IN FRONT OF US ARE LIPTON TEA HEIRESSES


at a private school graduation, in a park.

tile white plastic chairs, the full ornamental band,

her mom gossiping to my blazer’s shoulder pads, my hair up I think to myself, in the way you talk to a dog,

you’re a good boyfriend.

I’m a better girlfriend

but you should just be that in her room

or a more empty park,

I say to the dog me

WATCH ME ATTEMPT TO EXTEND EMPATHY TO THE TOURIST


if a ritual is a means of time travel

then picking these red currants is my ritual

no blood on my hands now. just juice

if a souvenir is a means of arresting time

then her name is a souvenir that I can say

as if I still have a reason to. I can word myself

in such a way that I am not alone tonight

/

in the same way, I can mark his grave

verbally, and at a safe distance

from that mud brick church

that they might call primitive, where

my brave uncle, whom they might call an addict,

had eulogized his mother

if a tradition is a common habit between generations

then assimilation has been our tradition

a literally self-effacing inheritance

what the Spanish called blood-mending

if opiates

are a means

of using

the material

to change

the spirit

then brujeria

is a means

of using

the spiritual

to change

the material

and a spell

is a poem

aimed