I dreamt of a library in which
In the middle of an antechamber
Juan Rulfo sat reading a slender book—
Likely a long-forgotten poetry collection—
And I said to him, “Juan, Mr. Rulfo,
What the hell’re you doing in here?”
I thought they weren’t letting anyone in,
He replied. I thought this palace was barricaded.
“Sir,” I said, “you calling me a ghost?”
He shut his book & smiled—
His pallid lips slitted like a corpse’s.
He reached inside his blazer,
Pulled out a sepia photograph.
A picture of the sky, he said.
I call this “El Dios.”
“You’re crazy,” I told Juan Rulfo,
“You must be a Mexican writer.”
Then I gave him my email address,
Said to stay in touch, that I’d teach
Pedro Paramo to my students.
He waved me off & said,
Minor work by a minor visionary.
“You’re nuts,” I told Juan Rulfo,
“Absolutely mad. You must be the
God of Latin America.”
I left & he returned to his book,
Peaceful, legs crossed like a gentleman.
I dreamt my eyes were split wide
Apart—wider even than Julio Cortázar’s,
As though in preparation for rainwater
To carve down my face a river, or perhaps
For it to lay as a landing strip for illegal
Aerial activity—midnight Cessna runs—
And my eyes on the sides of my head
Saw that I wrote in dual dimensions,
Right & Left, therefore I could no
Longer be a middling poet, I simply
Couldn’t, as if my eyes (forked far & wide)
Had ruptured something inside me, some-
Thing intangible, irreparable, & my words
Would always blossom from concurrent
Divergent paths, paths destined never to
Lick each other, simple as that, & I cussed
The wretched force who wrenched apart
My eyes, spread them like butter, & was it
Cortázar’s voice I discerned from my book-
Shelf? A smoky bass vibration that greeted:
Welcome, tiger, to the ongoing revolution—
How’re your new eyes treating you?
To which I replied, “It feels like I only go
Backwards, to quote Tame Impala,” to which
Cortázar, tickled, said, You youngsters baffle me.
Alex Z. Salinas is the author of two full-length poetry collections from Hekate Publishing: WARBLES (2019) and DREAMT, or The Lingering Phantoms of Equinox (2020). He is also the author of a book of short stories from SAR Press: City Lights From the Upside Down (2021). He holds an M.A. in English Literature and Language from St. Mary’s University. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.