Rumpus Original Poetry: Three Poems by Kristi Estefania Stout Larios





I am lamb (consejos)

my mother tried to give me the map young

             el hombre
             se quiere pensar
             y quién
             le puede negar

me, I thought. me. I can deny him

(the him was always theoretical
he was my inevitable husband
he was the husband she already had
he was my grandfather
he was adam
he was zeus
he was a ghost with us in the car)

my mother tried to teach me to escape the cave

             by insisting my name is nobody
             by letting the blind man think
             I am lamb or lamb or
             anything soft
             when really my true form is silent
             gripping the underside of the creature
             my eyes prayed shut until they start to glow
             the color of sun interrupted

I know if I open them I will see the ship



the ocean I came from.


i ask them about birth

about splitting

inevitable tiny laugh
oh it’s not so bad
your body was built

for this. we have mothered
for centuries. i gesture
to the line of women

behind me. my great
great grandmother
died giving light
my other great
great grandmother
gave light and lived
but not willingly
and that is death too
my other other
great great grandmother
drank (my grandfather
her son was the little boy
retrieving his sleeping mother
from the velvet kentucky
lounges) and my other
other other great great
grandmother i know nothing

of her. all i have
is a picture of a woman
seated, her hands braided
black hair meticulous
middle parted, a face
like medicine, a face
that says I have always been


i am this last woman’s namesake
estefania, meaning –  a crown
a garland. that which surrounds or
encircles. the first martyr

a man i love enters the poem
and asks me to put the picture away

she upends him
she upends me too

i tuck her into a tiny
corner of myself


monday night and my babys asleep

i hear revving outside my window — a message. a demand. i assume
the posture of a woman who has seen it all. sigh ok
come get me i tell him. just stop revving i hate a big talk liar. i hate
fake purity. when really all it is is — is a nightingale swooping
onto my sill & saying sit still for a second. god even the nightingale
threatens me. you know i wish god damn would sound
like thunder in MY throat
but my THROATS
too small. i hear revving outside my window. ONE SECOND
IM NAKED YOU IDIOT. jesus lord. it’s good
to tell people you are naked because then they get distracted
with picturing you naked & you get a headstart on running
away. you also get to say i knew you were a dirty dirty
skunk. how about: stop sexualizing me and start conTEXTUALIZING
me ever thought of that ya skunk? ya heckin rooster?????
????????? i stare out my window at the headlights waiting
for me. the youth has stopped revving and started idling which is
somehow louder than the revving. i take a drag from my ciggie. i make a big show
of doing nothing. i’ve wasted a lot of time on that boy
he can waste some time on me. for once. as soon as i think that thought
the youth drives away. as if he heard me. a big bluff, i’m sure, but i cry
anyway. i cry anyway and i stay naked anyway and i finish
the pack of ciggies anyway and i cradle the nightingale anyway and i
crush its small body in my sleep.


Photograph of Kristi Estefania Stout Larios courtesy of Kristi Estefania Stout Larios.

Kristi Estefania Stout Larios is a writer based in Durham, NC. You can find more of her work at More from this author →