Hammer Head by Yael Valencia Aldana

Hammer Head
by Yael Valencia Aldana

                    after Ada Limon

I could not imagine that such a creature 
could be caught. I could not imagine 
the colossal total of his rough hewn weight
or that he could be brought into our world. 
A membrane must have been broken, thrust 
though to still the muscled breath of this leviathan.
It seemed wrong that three men could labor under 
the immensity of his shifting body in shallow water, 
in their rickety wooden boat with blue and white 
paint peeling, or that my mother and I would 
be passing on the road at that exact moment in our 
white mini to see his dead kings body and the three
men struggling with him, their prize. How had they 
managed it? How had he been taken? Was he hooked? 
Or was he found floating, His head slack in death, 
fresh still. How had they claimed him? How had they 
hoisted him into this shallow pretense of a boat. My 
eight year old self wanted to know everything. As usual, 
My mother wanted to know nothing. But as usual 
she had a story about how she ate shark once 
and didn’t like it. 

Hear Yael Valencia Aldana recite the poem on the Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast:

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Yael Aldana is a Caribbean Afro-Latinx writer and poet. Yael and her mother and her mother’s mother and so on are descendants of the indigenous people of modern-day Colombia. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Florida International University (FIU). Her work has appeared or is upcoming in Typehouse, The Florida Book Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Scapegoat Review, Antithesis Blog, and Slag Glass City, among others. She teaches creative writing at FIU, and she lives in South Florida with her son and too many pets.
You can find her online at YaelAldana.com, on Instagram at @Yaelwrites, and on Twitter @Yaelwrites71.

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