Danny Rivera is the author of Ancestral Throat, a poetry chapbook published by Finishing Line Press in 2021. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from City College of New York, and his poems and literary criticism have appeared in Washington Square, Western Humanities Review, Epiphany, American Book Review, and other journals. He lives in New York City.
Dispatch from the Last Century
I have never learned to kneel before a man, to taste blood
in the water, to have a body worth repeating: You tell me
that it is haram, forbidden, to uncover the faces of men
in the dark. Later, you open the chest cavity, making sure
to crack each rib with care, punishing me with intimacy.
Violence has always been the answer. This is a dispatch
from the last century: all cluster bombs and whirr, veils
and spilled wine on the bedside table. Pummel me, again,
draw out my tongue, then gather me; this is my time to be
among the animals. What is fear, if not another reminder
to run from ourselves? On the screen, rumors of armored
convoys in the streets approaching the capital, a crown
of fires choking the sea. While summoning the turbine
of your mouth, I revisit another word for terror.