The Poetics of Being 

     The more venturesome are the poets, but poets whose song turns our unprotected being into the Open. 

                        —Martin Heidegger, “What Are Poets For?”

I. An overhead light in a dentist’s waiting room

                         intensifies the apprehension of a patient. The  

                       callus on their hands flake 

                         onto the floor, their  

                         nails peeling  

                       back the thick skin and flicking 

                        the remains. Dragged from the  dimly lit office to the 

 back room, a blue, cross-stitched chair 

 waits patiently for a victim. Perhaps  

 they’ve entered a dental convention, where they are all 

put under a chemical ether.  

                                                                                                                                                                  Root canals scrape the lost

                                                                                                                                                                  words from within our  

                                                                                                                                                                smiles. A crown restores the  

                                                                                                                                                              lost strength to bite 

                                                                                down on our toughest opinions.  

                                                                              A literary god calls, 

                                                                                                                                                              royalty is a crest.  

            A mirror reflects light on the sharpest tip of the molar,  

            jagged enough to slice the gums. Inside our teeth, it’s  

            sheenly iridescent.  

            II. The church of poetics praises a  

                         destitute time. The drunkards  

                         sober up from their wine of  

                         metaphysical oblivion by sipping 

                         their Kantian-infused vodka. Denial  

                         is no better than the truth. We’ve  

                         already been dead.  

A dinner party joins together 

in the Cenacle, with a menu of Being 

divided by finger-food sonnets that fall 

off the bone, aeon soused steak, and 

molten venture. The sap from an infamous 

tree of life spills on the napkins, seeping 

from the ceiling. We are beneath something 

much larger than us.  


            III. An appetizer of panko-crusted chicken 

                         marinated in the slow simmer of  

                         zesty vis primitiva activa is brought to the 

                         table. Leibniz triturates the crumbs left  

                         on the plates. Ground to a powder, he 

                         swirls his saliva into it, forming the 

                         Bingham plastic liquid. The newly made 

                         odontopaste conceals the open wound of 

                         a drilled tooth.  

                                                                       The Being of beings lives in the 

                         mouth. We are because we  

                          allow ourselves to be.  

                         Digestion begins in the mouth. We   exist, crown to root.[1]

            IV. Not yet satiated, checker-piece sized

                          beef emits the savory scent of longevity. 

                          Aion pais esti paizon, pesseuon.[2] 

                          A lifetime rounds itself off into zeroes 

                          of existential statistics. Time is passed  

                          down like generational 

                                                                                                  trauma, and before we know it, it’s ours 

                                                                                                     to keep and to deal with. Yet, the game  

                          still stands. So, we  

                          skip and we jump 

                          and we collect those pieces across the  board. As we bite down, the taste of  

                          aged meat lingers, cannibalistically.  

            V. The last dish is cut into with a blade  

                          freshly sharpened off the block. A river 

                          of pantheism flows out of the chocolate 

                          baked dome. The gravitational pull of 

                          Being to being to venture to will is a 

                          mutual attraction.  

                                                                                                                              I am the Earth. I am the  


                                                  I am the middle of the world: 

                                                                                                         everywhere, at every instance, all at once. 

            VI. The last ounce of sugar bites back 

                          at the spackled, blackened tooth. Now  

                          deadened and cracking, the creation 

                          of language gasps for air. The deepest 

                          pit is  


                                                     and spatial.  


[1] The seven chakras, with crown at the top and root at the bottom. 

[2] “Time is a child playing, playing draughts,” from Heraclitus, Fragment 52

                                                        At the core, it’s smooth and hardened. So,  

                                                        we rip it open, and  

                                                        swallow it like a pill.  

                                                        Suddenly, we overdose.  

            VII. Suicidology is the science of life. Dying is 

                          feminine and masculine. Maybe in the next 

                          life we are martyrs. We sacrifice life for 

                          the price of knowing 

                                                                                                        this is not the end. 

                          And where do we go when we die?  

We are here. We are everywhere.  

                          Perhaps space is God. Perhaps our bodies 

                          are as far and as wide as the universe. We  

                          are thrown into and out of the self.  

                                                                                                        We’re in the ground and the  

                                                                                                        air and we’re the present, past, 

                                                                                                        and future. Open and Closed.  

                                                                                                        Then, Open once more.



And Who Prayed for Satan? 

 Who in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that  needed it most, our one fellow and brother who most needed a friend yet had not a single  one…” 

 Mark Twain 


        I. Our fallen angel, windborne from the 


 of retribution. 

 He fell from far 


                                                        the exosphere 

 to deep 


 the troposphere. 


              He’s been blistered red 

              from his original obsidian coating.  

              A blanket of impiety swaddled  

              him as he 

                                        broke the final layer 

              of Earth. 

              Forgiveness dusted the air and floated 

 between his fingers as he grasped at 

 the taunting particles. 

        II. I fall asleep at night on a 

                pillow of deception and  

                                                                                  a comforter of betrayal. 

                                                                                  tuck my body under 

              Satan whispers to me in a dream, 

                                       pray for me, 

              and I become mute. My inter 

                                                       locked fingers,  

                                                     psalm to palm, are silent 

                                                                                                    yet kinetic.  

               I once prayed for him until my 

              voice dissolved, dissipating into 

                                                                                 thin air  

 as a lost hymn.  

                  I cannot save you.

Who will? 

        III. I imagine Lucifer as 

                  an orphan, 

                  abandoned and  


                                                                                                               The roof  

                                                                                                               of faith caves in 

                                                                                                               as if it were 

                                                                                                               overtaken by  

                                                                                                               a snowstorm. 

             So, we sat in the yard and made  

 snowballs out of agnosticism.  


             I don’t believe in my Father.  I don’t blame you. 

        IV. I’ve let Satan down. I capture the fine particles

                                                                                 of absolution 

                                                                                 in a jar like a child 

                                                                                 imprisons lightning bugs. 

                I poke holes in the lid and 

                                                                     wait for redemption 

                                                                     to take its first breath.  

                The faint lights flicker 


                and off.  

  Morning star, I cannot pray in  

                the dark. 



Los Días de La Semana 

On Mondays, I turn language on and off  

to my own liking. Sometimes on Tuesdays I

understand what they mean when they call 

me pendeja, but on Wednesdays I remember  that

no matter how many years it has been,  I will still

feel the ringing in my ear when English turns to

Spanish and then Spanglish.


On Thursdays, I wake up to the later translated 

argument between my Peruvian father and his 

Columbian wife, where he accuses her of cheating. I

couldn’t help but feel like he deserved it. Someone

should make him feel the way he made my mother feel. 


Friday reminds me of lentils and rice on a perfectly

placed dinner plate while my tears salt the bland 

chicken. He encourages me to finish my plate, but also

opens the bathroom doors for me after. Maybe  my

pointer and middle finger in my throat is what being 

a woman feels like. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel 

comfortable in this body.  


The day before church, I pick out my outfit and my 

father yells at me for not being Hispanic enough. I 

straighten my hair because it makes me prettier. He 

calls me sexy because he thinks it’s okay. 


On Sunday morning, my father steals my innocence and

tells me we are going to be late to mass. So, he pushes

me into the car and I weep in a pew, where all the 

prayers are en Español. 


But, its okay, because then it’s Monday again, and I 

get to choose what I understand. Sometimes when I 

don’t want to listen, everything is in Spanish again.



Mother Wound 

This skin of mine has stretched and 

shrunk since it’s initial casing of baby 

soft purity and unmarked beauty. My  

home resides within me and around me.  


I birthed this body from the canal that  

divides my mud dusted valleys. The 

roseate blood painted my face as I wiped  the

droplets that canopy over my eyelashes. It fills

my belly button like a pool of childhood, baked

in the summer. These birthing hips bared  a

daughter of light switch emotions. 


I am the mother of my body. I am the mother

to my mother wound. The connection to my 

flesh is so far away. The blisters on my feet

hold me back from running toward salvation.  All there is left to do is sit in the slices of self



I hold my anger in the tip of my tongue 

and gently gnaw at it with the firm bites 

of food being too hot. I would speak up  

for myself, but it’s rude to talk with your 

mouth full. 


The salt from last night’s dinner stings  

my wounds when I try to lick myself  

clean. The dampness lingers on my 

forearm and keeps me cold. Maybe one  

day someone will touch me and feel the 

way I do.  


My deepest wounds are so peroxide soaked, I 

paddle through them like a captain lost at sea.

Bipolar swishes in my veins and crashes against

the shore of my mind. I am so inside of my head. 

One instant, I am above the waves, and in the

next, I am sand encrusted.  


I am both the creator and the destroyer. I wish I had

known sooner. I am ripping out of my skin, begging

to be outside of this. I am caved under my

fingernails. All I can do is sit and stare at my hands,


What have you done?



Honey River  

Poetry feels like the 

                                                 viscous space 

in a  

non-Newtonian world. It’s stuck between  

                                                                      the almost firm and almost liquid state of 


when the poets venture out in the  

                                                 river of honey and it  

                                                 sticks to the oars but 


                     slides off  

                                 the sides  

                                                 in the very next  


                                                                                              Before you know it, 

you’re in the river;  

                                                 somewhere, what will be 

                                                                           between & 

                                                                           what used to be, 

                                                                                                                                                 is your body. 

It’s silent, 






                                                                                                                                                 But that is so loud. 

The honey 

                seeps into your mouth and fills your lungs. 


                Even the holes 

within the substance 

are filling up, bringing  

                you further and 



sweet fructose  


into an aortic bed.  

the pillow on top of 

a neatly pressed comforter 


                          welcome home. 

                                                                                              poetry resides in that soft 

                                                                                              cushion, and makes you  

                                                                                              whole. it makes you 





Sofia Escobar is currently a junior at Hartwick College double majoring in Creative Writing and Philosophy with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. She has won the Anna Sonder Prize for Poetry through the Academy of American Poets for two years in a row, in 2022 and 2023. She was recently published by Rectangle, Sigma Tau Delta’s creative journal, and won the Eleanor B. North Poetry Award for 2023. Her work has also been published in Hartwick College’s undergraduate literary magazine, Word of Mouth, in 2022 and in Auburn University’s, The Auburn Circle, in 2021.