Tierra del Fuego
Andrew Alexander Mobbs
The stillest hour of the morning, hundreds of ticks
before the soft blue birth of dawn, is precisely when
I’m jolted awake, sweating inexplicably, scrambling
for the remnants of the last meaningless dream.
Yesterday, Marybeth became a phantom last seen
somewhere in Pulaski County—the police are
saying—and Ricky learned he’s going to be a father
just after the same police fingerprinted him.
I think about how I miss them and stumble to the
bathroom, sensing the dirt and dead skin
cling to my bare heels on the cold linoleum
(these days, I wake up in the middle of the night
to piss; I take neon pink vitamins to get through
the afternoon). Leaning forward, I rest my palm
against the wall tiles, release a waterfall in the dark.
I start to remember that years ago in geography
class, we learned about this archipelago at the base
of South America first inhabited millennia ago
and rediscovered by Magellan in the 16th century.
He called it the land of fire because of the Selknam
bonfires on the shore before the Europeans
extinguished them. Our teacher told us how Chile
and Argentina split up the land and then some Croats
sailed down in hopes of gold. I remember Ricky
tapping me on the shoulder then, me turning around
to meet the wildness in his obsidian eyes, and he said
believe it, man, I’m gonna have a shitload of gold
someday. I said I bet you will, Rick, I bet you will.
Andrew Alexander Mobbs, Arkansas native and vagabond of the world, has been writing poetry for nearly a decade. In 2013, he released his debut poetry collection, Strangers and Pilgrims (Six Gallery Press), and his work has also appeared in Vortex Magazine, Deep South Magazine, New Plains Review, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Calliope, Zetetikon, Gravel Literary Journal, The Montucky Review, The Round, and After Happy Hour Review. He was a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee, and he co-founded Nude Bruce Review, a nonprofit online literary magazine, in 2012.