Carlos Andrés Gómez


Carlos Andrés Gómez is a Colombian American poet and a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Winner of the Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize, Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, his work has appeared in the North American Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Rumpus, BuzzFeed Reader, Rattle, CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape (Simon & Schuster, 2012), and elsewhere. For more:

When Two Words Fracture the Mirror


Shoulder and soldier were the same
word. My fumbled speech less
that of an immigrant’s son, now
able to make something of
the white noise that claimed


My father carried the title of Breadwinner.
Nothing made the clamped jaw of an
afternoon unlatch more quickly and with
as much abandon as when he jogged, much
to my mother’s dismay, around our barren
yard in Cyprus while I giggled atop his
shoulders as though gravity had lost its
touch. The war, barely at a standstill,
seemed to hibernate beneath his worn
New Balance running shoes. He made sure
to jog every morning. Ran marathons by
himself: how a man escapes
his finally failing body. How
he transcends the failing image of
what others believe him to be.
The civil war between Turks and Greeks,
made real by minefields that persisted
and the scorched fighter plane whose tail
rose from the dirt near our house,
was not the war. The real war
was home. 


My grandfather was a soldier
pretending to be someone
he was not: native in German, a Nazi
passport, a dealer of arms. Which
version of us is real? Why did I
obsess about war my entire life,
revel in the flinch of nightfall
scored by explosions, but remain
afraid of guns? Petrified
of that moment a man must face
another man, real or imagined.



at the playground, on the bus, everywhere 

my daughter is not                flirting 

with you                      at four months 

                               she does not yet 

know her feet                               are hers.

Twenty years              from now        I hope

she knows    her whole body       is hers.



Changing My Name

Imagine: I could start drinking
cucumber water and change
how I dress. I could eat cottage 

cheese on a hemp bagel, buy boat
shoes and evaporate on command.
I could be Andrew Carlos Williams 

and wouldn’t scare Lindsey’s
roommate from The Valley when
I slept over. I’d start over-pronouncing 

everything and get called back by
apartment brokers. I would raise a son
with a strong Anglo-Saxon name 

who’d look even whiter than me
and never get asked where he is from.
He’d decide to drop the accent 

mark but his tongue would still catch
on consonants (inherited from his abuelito’s
old reading lessons). We’d invent a new 

origin story and always stand, mouths
robotic, each hand clutched to chest
in the shape of a colony of flesh.


© The Acentos Review 2019