Patrick Holian


Patrick Holian is a Mexican American writer from San Francisco, California, where he currently resides. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s College of California and a PhD in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His fiction and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review, Arkansas Review, Black Warrior Review, Gigantic Sequins, Moon City Review, Yalobusha Review, Apricity Magazine, Salt Hill Journal, and Bennington Review. Patrick was a finalist in the 2019 Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s contest and a finalist for Michigan Quarterly Review’s 2021 Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize.


I told myself I wouldn’t resort to perfection.
In this version of the story, I am the deadbeat.
Palm trees and animosity succumb to the fog.
You will always be my chamber, my nightshade. 

In this economy, an economy of dispossession,
well, we’ll just throw some confetti on the wound,
ford into the river of our memories, kill something
nameless in the rapids. We’ve completely misunderstood 

the laws of extinction. I rubbed my forehead against
your belly, rubbed my belly against your forehead,
asked if arrivals were always such violent things.
I ate donuts in my bad underwear on a stool 

while you painted me and listened to me prattle on
about the collapse of stars and your boobies
and a garden I’d never plant and etcetera.
We, as humans,
deserve sleep, wouldn’t you say? 

For a long time, I’ve subscribed to my own stupidity,
resorted to foulness, perfection, aspartame. Somehow,
despite my efforts, I’ve been your chamber, I’ve built a tolerance for nightshade.
And when you hold the wind, the fog, in your strong, lithe hands, sometimes I wonder.


© The Acentos Review 2022