Trio House Press
publishing distinct voices in American Poetry
since 2011

Third Winter in our Second Country by Andres Rojas

Andres Rojas is the author of the chapbook Looking for What Isn’t There (Paper Nautilus Press Debut Series Winner, 2019) and the audio-only chapbook The Season of the Dead (EAT Poems, 2016). His poetry has been featured in the Best New Poets series and has appeared in, among others, AGNI, Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Massachusetts Review, New England Review, and Poetry Northwest.

Using the Scout’s Handbook While Learning English

 

Not yet a full animal, no longer

fully a cub, sunlight green on me

through summer’s high canopy, a stream

mud-cheeked from last night’s rains:

from fifteen years on, I see

myself, lean for my age, light-boned

as a kestrel, fleeing a housing project

not so much life-preserver

as a hurricane’s next island. But today,

the tallest I’ve been and growing,

I think I’ve come for animals.

From their world, mine

must seem both comically unstealthy

and full of sudden excitements. But I

see, as I still see, both the signs on the mud

and the need to read them, their tracks

a test for the Handbook.

And it serves: a pair of racoons, deer,

and, later, what I wanted to be a bear

but was just a dog, the known names

besides the unknown:

muskrat, grouse, skunk. And I

don’t yet know, but I’ll remember

this day, when I asked and was answered,

when the world spoke its persistent language

and I, with due care, understood.