Sergio Ortiz

The key you lost


lives like a fugitive on your skin.

It is the prelude to our memoirs,

a poem fused to nectarines, an exploration

through Copper Canyon, visions

of Haiti’s angels licking my ears,

a hypnotic belly dance on the sand

matching the colors that mesh

on your hip scarf, an experiment

we refuse to put down, an invitation

to cross the doorway of the home

I no longer occupy.


The key you lost is not the manual

of a digital camera, or calendar entries

for next month’s readings. It is not

a Popular Mechanics article you wrote

to put food on our table,

or a classified add on craigslist.


It wants to be the bungee jump

into the pangs of a deer in heat,

the obituary of bolted doors,

a list of all the vacant walls

on which we'll scribble

our erotic graffiti.

Sergio A. Ortiz is the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. He is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016 Best of the Net nominee. 2nd place in the 2016 Ramón Ataz Annual Poetry Competition sponsored by Alaire publishing house. He is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.