I Leave ||| Blackbird

& the sky breaks into gray carnations
after 120 days of drought, while the quartz sand rolls
over itself imitating a wave.
I leave & the mountains are wrinkled
& soft like a brown paper bag that carries a sweating
gallon of milk & bananas. I leave the mountains
with the weight of careless graffiti, tattoos:
“I loved.” “I was never here.”
I leave the sunset, red & white candles on a wooden shelf
of horizon, burning until their braids
are exhausted. I leave their orange ink as it is spilled,
as it recedes. I leave & think of you leaving,
somewhere now in the sky with me, glowing with
the earth’s invisible halo.


Iliana Rocha earned her PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University. Her work has been featured in the Best New Poets 2014 anthology, as well as appear or are forthcoming in West Branch, RHINO, Puerto del Sol, The Nation, and elsewhere. Karankawa, her debut collection, won the 2014 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and is available through the University of Pittsburgh Press. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Central Oklahoma and lives with her two chihuahuas Nilla and Beans.

I Leave” originally appeared in Volume 12, No. 2 of BlackbirdFall 2013.