From Issue 52: A Poem by J. Estanislao Lopez

Anti-ode to the Metaphysical

by J. Estanislao Lopez


It’s an easy thing to complain.
Watch me do it
there by rock formations older than any government.

There, beneath trees shivering with crows.
It’s so easy I can do it underwater
not even knowing how to swim.

It’s easier than falling in love
and, truthfully, is as tender.
In the morning,

nestlings chirp with hunger.
In the night, crickets whine
to be loved.

I’ve heard rumors of a greater being
whose whole purpose is to field
our questions.

Well, this is not so much a question
as it is a comment, and not so much a comment
as it is a critique.

My ailing body refutes the summer’s songs.
I’ve lost no more than the average man,
but no less, either.

Steeped in patriotism, my children
grow entitled to and estranged from the world.
Trouble enough, this ephemeral life.

Well, I can already tell you
how that will go.


J. Estanislao Lopez’s poetry has appeared in venues such as the New YorkerPoetry Magazine, the Rumpus, and elsewhere. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net. His debut collection, We Borrowed Gentleness, was published by Alice James Books in October 2022. He lives and teaches in Houston.