Ultimate Cause

Elisa Díaz Castelo


My mother left a silence at rest, breathing slow
between the four walls of our apartment,
one curtain shut against a pale dusk and the radiator
with fire on its tongue. Always our home a little flame,

a cluster of the tropics shipwrecked in this cold city.
Coming into this house is walking into another country
in another country, a rounded hand against a universe

always expanding. That evening, she left the lights on
and they poured onto the darkening streets, from below
home seemed a beacon boasting danger, cautioning passersby.
As if every sign were a sign of distress. I entered.

Under a glass of water, half empty,
a note. It read, darling, I have left you
the keys on the desk and I have searched

for the meaning of the word Erebus, which is
deep darkness or shadow, primordial deity born
out of chaos. I think now of her fingers
over the paper, of her voice still warm

inside our house. Birth might be this.
Not the centrifugal force of the womb,
garden from which I was unearthed,

but the moment when my mother left,
the house covered in a shroud of light,
and her things echoing of her skin,
fainter, fainter.

Elisa_Díaz, poesía

Elisa Díaz Castelo holds an MFA from New York University and is a Fulbright fellow. She was a semi-finalist in the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize and won Second Place in the 2015 Literal Latté Poetry Awards. She is a recipient of the FONCA fellowship for young writers in Mexico.