Two Poems by Hazel Bordagaray

Hazel Bordagaray

The Shinto House on Broad Street 

Sweat and shit and floral perfume from Vietnam, 

the smell of dying in a house with all red doors.

When he says “hold me” 

he is already levitating 

like a bunch of rattling bones 

dancing in the air above a seance. 

His body doesn’t work for him  anymore, 

its gears rusted, they creak and moan 

they say let us be free, 

but they have nowhere else to go. 

He is just waiting, that’s the worst part. 

Watching him wait, 

knowing that it won’t be long now. 

I’m terrified that one day I will open the door, 

and not hear the name he  thinks is mine 

because that too was lost in translation. 

Terrified one day I will find it’s just me, 

and the spirits on the altar in your living room, 



waiting for him to join them.

Losing to the Liminal 

Exorcise the rains from these barren mountains, 

let all of the people know that it’s only a matter of time before we start howling like animals. 

A cup of iced tea on a southern porch will only stay cool for so long. 

After a couple of minutes of melting and suddenly

a great alchemy is at work. 

That same alchemy is being done to my bones. 

Harvest me from the fiddlehead ferns and mountain roses,

I am the newest apex predator. 

If things were different I would take you with me, 

let you hear the choir of the reveling moonlit beasts, 

who feel her power pulse-like ripples through water. 

The monsters aren’t out to get you because 

they’re too fond of riddles and, frankly,

you aren’t  much of one, bless your heart. 

Do you see it? 

A doorway made of briars

hanging in the trees like a noose asking 

“will you pass through me?”

It’s small.

Much too small for my monstrous form to fit.

You have finally found a monster you must face alone.