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Nicholas Fuenzalida

Many Houses Were Gone

In that high and windy place, something I had never thought

much of presented itself—a tangle of concertina wire

the men used for their herds. Beneath my feet it rose

weakly, as if the rust and fur that clung to its teeth

had won, dulled it harmless with decades of light

touch. In that moment, I wished it a metaphor

for your father—frontier worn irrelevant to a point

of longing for a phone call or the mercy of—

For him to know what I have since

you told me about the time he dropped you off

in a roadside coffee shop—blaming work, he left you

to roll straw sleeves into little wet pebbles.

When nearly a year ago, between the foam of your words,

I knew some small thing was etched into me—saw him

emerge less through the sentences than the pauses, breath

you reserve for messages left on his phone. To be perfectly

clear, harm was never my intention. Perhaps that is what

he and I share. Perhaps that is the window glazed

I have had such trouble reading. In that flat

and open space, blood’s slow arrival

was a reminder I could not escape myself, the wire

nothing more than a scrap of fence, yet still I find

myself wondering if those few houses ever held men

different from those I have known. If their work asked

less of their families, if they never asked for forgiveness

the way I have never asked mountains to kneel before me.


Nicholas Fuenzalida is originally from Colorado but now lives in New York. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Indianola Review, Bodega, Cleaver Magazine, Rust+Moth, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter at @fountainexit.

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