Mauricio Novoa


Mauricio Novoa is from Glenmont, Maryland and is the son of Salvadoran refugees. He will graduate with an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte this May. His first poetry lessons were from 2Pac and Nas and he enjoys teaching creative writing workshops for high school students of color.


Recruitment in Wheaton is picking
dandelions – no one wants these weeds
so bundle them and let them die
somewhere foreign with no water,
still invasive but you tell them
they’re beautiful. You see their
brown skin like rat fur that makes children
scream because you told them how disgusting
they are, full of disease. But they’re useful.
Give them the gun you pointed at their parents’
chests in their old casas de carton, and teach
them to shoot with a hand over their heart.
Teach them it isn’t wrong to die for red and blue
bandanas as long as they’re stitched in the right
patterns. Win-win – they catch a bullet
after handing out 100 more, and their mamis
and papis catch a pause in their heartbeat
wondering if standing for national anthems
will keep their son’s body from falling.


Jailhouse library

They gave the homie
7 years when the dogs sniffed
a trunk full of
The People’s History of the United States.

Battering rams crash the neighbor’s
door frame and they rush
the basement, confiscating pounds
of A Light in the Attic.

Automatic stop and frisk,
strange hands in the most intimate
part of a shaking body, and maybe
a club to the mouth for anyone
who dares to openly carry
The Fire Next Time.

Police in riot gear hold
hands with legislators and clergymen
as if they’re about to sing “We Shall Overcome,”
filling a pool with spit from their venomous
yelling and sweat from fear of
pre-convicted felons they cuffed
to the bottom of the pool.
They watch us Drown.

© The Acentos Review 2018