two poems

by Julián Bañuelos

Turning To Murderpedia Because Asking Was Too Much

I had forgotten your name
because I have never known your face.

Word is—

My Grandma Tina looks just like you.
To me she looks like herself.

I’m told they called you mama.
To me you are tombstone

off the Highway,
Englewood Cemetery, Slaton, Tx

next to flapping flag poles.
Where you lay, a small boy is pressed

against a Saturn S-Series window.
His grandmother at her mother’s grave.

The boy squints his almond eyes
trying to read the tombstone—

Inheritor of grief & astigmatism
I pray you never learn how blood

Lay scattered stains floors and futures.
His face etched en mi memoria

like names on a tombstone.


Pesadillas Recurrentes

escúchame poeta—
Dios / mío
da y quita

She was murdered
fue asesinada

gurgling mis oraciones
que ahora digo

en mis sueños
now that los tiempos
son más oscuros

I hear what recurs
loud y clear.

Julián David Bañuelos is a Chicano poet and translator from Lubbock, Tx. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where he was a Provost Fellow, a Stanley Award Fellow, and a 2022 Fulbright semi-finalist. His work can be read in Wine Cellar Press, Latino Book Review, The Bayou Review, Acentos Review, and Annulet Poetics Journal. He currently lives and teaches in Iowa City.


Photography by: Maksim ŠiŠlo