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"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare


Gerardo Lamadrid Castillo is a poet from Caguas, Puerto Rico currently living in Hamilton, Ontario. They have a BA in English from Vassar College and an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Davis. They write in both English and Spanish, and their work has been featured in In Parentheses, Manzano Mountain Review and la Revista del ICP. Gerardo has also published the poetry collections Yendome and bocados.

Gerardo Lamadrid Castillo

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Fictional California

(I know, I know: "like every California," but also: like the Sufjan and Angelo song)

Two years of my life feel like some weird dream
like an overripe piece of stone fruit: some ashy,
sunny skin and flesh concealing a tough, wrinkled
pit—inscrutable, too. No windows back then on second
floors to look through. No cold nibbling through whisky
stupors of adopted identity. No sweet refugee rescue
dog to walk though suburban streets brimming with purebred
dogs barking, barking, barking. No nothing of substance
to latch onto just three months later, as if it'd never even
existed. Zoom calls and masks and sweaty, lonesome
walks, sober, to spit into vials to be able to earn money
to pay too-expensive rent and take a train to one of the country's
largest cities to listen to what sound like gunshots in places
where a gun should never go off and to catch the dreaded
plague at a pho place. It was great pho, tho. It sure tasted real
at the time. Warm.