There Are Things Which Need Fixing

By Elisa Díaz Castelo

The window won't open, dust is everywhere, the curtains
don't keep out the light, the heater is old, the chair
limping. I won't even start with the kitchen:
the crack in the teapot, etc., the refrigerator
rumbles like a hungry beast and is never full, the knife
has lost its sharpness and the cabinets squeak.
There are thing which need fixing,
there are things
that have begun to end.
Their endings — luminous threads —
uncoil from their centers or gather
around them like children round a mother.
Things are dumb and blind that way, I tell you,
bound to their ends, always on the slow
one-way road to disintegration.
The old man's hunch, the broken rib,
the lingering cough, the arm in a cast,
the ingrown toenail.
There are things that need fixing!
In my city, the streets burst open with rain,
as if something inside them could not wait
to be born. Stray dogs roam the alleys
looking for lost hopes, 
and the palace of Bellas Artes sinks
ever so slow.
There are things that need fixing:
the cemeteries run out of room
and our dead ones are piled
over one another, no respect for common sense
or taste. Aunt Gertrude over Grandpa,
Rosa and Marine, lifelong enemies,
are having an eternal bone to bone.
This can't be right.
The stars go out like old lightbulbs,
the constellations jumble,
night curls up on my tummy,
a newborn, unwanted, child.
They ask me to cut the umbilical cord.
Things that need fixing: the universe 
expands and now they say
that it will never stop, it will grow on,
accelerate and die. The planets, then,
will keep on turning round
the turned-off sun.

There are things which need fixing.
Posterity: the tickets are sold out.
My hand is a slow beast
that speaks in ash. 

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About Elisa Díaz Castelo

Elisa Díaz Castelo was born and raised in Mexico. She holds an MFA from New York University in poetry and has received the Fulbright and Goldwater fellowships. She is committed to writing in both English and Spanish, and her work often meditates on the incomprehensibility that exists in the threshold of different languages and cultures. Her poems in Spanish appear in Periódico de Poesía, Los Bárbaros, and Sobremesa, among others. She recently received the FONCA fellowship for young writers and lives in Mexico City.


  1. Damian
    Posted January 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Well done Elisa!

  2. Charanjit Singh
    Posted April 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    What a touching imagery! Thank you Elisa.

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