The National Poetry Review

Ariel Francisco


There should be nothing here I don’t remember…
—Richard Blanco

I wander the night-streets of the Bronx
looking for my first home, that apartment
three stories above the crooked pavement,

spitting distance of Yankee Stadium, from which
we fled in the mid-nineties when the coke dealers
showed up on our block, that hard white

hitting our building like a baseball splintering
a window, where my cousin had to walk
the long blocks home from school

with house keys wedged between his fingers,
feigning brass knuckles whenever he got new
shoes, fists gleaming like heaps of broken glass

in sunlight— even Hermes could get
stomped out for his winged kicks here. Now
condos swell otherworldly into winter skies.

Arms of cranes and curved steel beams
rise from the ground, overarching the cityscape
like the hands of a tremendous puppeteer.

How bizarre. The building where I’d sit
on the fire escape that clung like brittle ivy,
and listen to the Yankee’s game

while looking out at the stadium,
pounding fist into glove, dreaming
of a home run hit so far out of the park

that I’d be able to catch it— that building
may not even exist anymore. What is done
with the rubble of the replaced? I come to

Yankee Stadium, heart of the Bronx, dark as
anything tonight, for there is no baseball in winter.
But even this landmark, this birthmark

has been shifted, torn down
a few years ago and resurrected across the street
from where I stand,

feet planted in its original location—
just a park now, an unwalled
sea of jaded grass.

ARIEL FRANCISCO is a first generation American poet of Dominican and Guatemalan descent. He is currently completing his MFA at Florida International University where he is the editor-in-chief of Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. His chapbook “Before Snowfall, After Rain” is available from Glass Poetry Press and his first full length collection, “All My Heroes Are Broke”, is forthcoming from C&R Press (2018). He lives in South Florida.