Jonathan Ayala


An Interior Locution from a Used Record

The songs start the same

no matter where I am:

Guitar strings that rattle

summoning plaza airs

in Spanish-speaking cities,

quivering voices dripping 

with Garcia Lorca's obsession,

homesickness, el duende.

I hear my mother singing on

ceramic kitchen tiles,

my father whistling while

he scrubs his pickup clean.

And drops of water rub

blades of grass like amber

rosin rubs a bow.

I hear the silence just

before my brother drops

a quarter on a polished pew

The metal clinks onto

the ancient solid oak

awakening sleepy angels

in corners of the church, 

like circling birds in search

of ground dry enough to land.

Listen, they say, the world sings.

I move because I hear it.

It calls my name below

and above and I jump and fall

but all in the same place,

where old voices open

new thoughts: we best know

who we are when we know

who we come from.


“But time is fixt, and sendeth light from farre

To all that in the wide deep wandering arre.”

  -The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser

Brass bells pulse

inside bronze casings,

pretty girls in plaid

greet with syncopation,

and he who kneels invokes

the presence,

invokes our Gloria,

of Glory on the highest.

The Sanctus, almighty

second-century creed snaps,

like thunder cracks the sky,

the worshipers' chants

swell into chorus,

summoning stories of our birth,

and Our Father who art in Heaven

becomes so only when we sing.

Perhaps He comes for our music.

Jonathan Ayala is an El Paso, Texas native. He studied English at Northwestern University. He now lives in Washington, D.C and works as a volunteer in an education-focused non-profit. His poems have appeared in The Logan Square Literary Review, Gertrude and Helicon.