Gut Gravity

Yesenia Montilla

For Chadwick, & My Abuelitos


Proverbs are weaved from reality
This is to say that when little
my mom used to threaten us kids with an
ass-kicking that not even Pupo could fix

& no one knew this Pupo, he resided some
where between our imagination & our hopefulness
A man or an octopus. A hot dog vendor near the corner
of 72nd & Central Park West or a magician
who pulled lamp shades out of hats in Avenida
Cienfuegos my mother’s hometown in Cuba

& what of the ass-kicking, what of the fixing?
It wasn’t till later when I asked my grandmother: Abuela quien
es Pupo? that she explained to me that the mystery man
was a gastroenterologist in Havana, that he cared
for my great-grandmother when the cancer back there
consumed her. That because of him she lived an extra
3 years past her expiration date. Pupo was a proper ass
doctor & he has folklore status among our people. 

Memory is a juggernaut; today I think of Pupo
how desperately I needed him in ’99 when
the cancer back there took my mother’s father
or in ’16 when it took my father’s father
his small hole had become a gaping one you could
                                              see through like a window —

All this to say
             the colon is a galaxy
made of stars                  that can go
                           super nova

& destroy us like a big bang or kill us slowly, methodically even,
while it dares us to create a legacy in 3 years, 2 years, 1 year
                                            – it hands you the Mona Lisa
& challenges you to color within the lines

Wakanda Forever — all that Vibranium, but what we needed
                             was a Pupo
                                                         for the king —

At 38 I had my first colonoscopy, I remember two things:

The doctor was beautiful, the kind of man
              only Hollywood makes & I couldn’t remember
                            if my Brazilian had also included an ass wax

After, when he went over my chart, he said: it was all clear
               you have one of the most beautiful colons I’ve ever seen
& I remember blushing as if he’d said
I were                 beautiful.
& in that moment
I was, because in my family
a beautiful colon is infinite 

time; a faceless clock,
               a gut full of light,               constellations, 

                                           gravity —