Skip to content →

On Magical Realism

—Ontario, CA. 1981

Stained with rosaries

and skeletons, some

virgin or another praying

on his shoulder, Tiny

shuffles toward and

leans heavy, as if trying,

into the first perfect hook

my father will land that summer,

and miles north, Tiny’s mother

clutches her chest, hearing

just then, on a dusty mantle

in an empty room, framed

glass crack and crack again

just along the left jawline

of a favorite baby boy

who will grow into a man

who calls a man Nigger,

in a room full of niggers,

and the nigger with the hook—

my father—asks What’s my name,

What’s my name, What’s

my motherfucking name?

as the photo frame

shatters damn near to dust,

Tiny’s mother buckles

and she cries, God

from Kontemporary Amerikan PoetryFind more by John Murillo at the library

Copyright © 2020 John Murillo
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in John Murillo Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.