Lupe Mendez is a Poet/Educator/Activist, CantoMundo, Macondo & Emerging Poet Fellow and co-founder of the Librotraficante Caravan. He works with Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say to promote poetry events, advocate for literacy/literature and organize creative writing workshops that are open to the public. He is the founder of Tintero Projects and works with emerging Latinx writers and other writers of color within the Texas Gulf Coast Region, with Houston as its hub. His publishing credits include prose work in Latino Rebels, Free Press Houston, the Kenyon Review, and Norton's Sudden Fiction Latino: Short Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, and poetry that appears in Huizache, Luna Luna, Ostrich, Pilgrimage, Border Senses, the Texas Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal and Gulf Coast.

Lupe Mendez

Cryogenic Kids

I am a wet rock in a solid 12 hours of rain. A hurricane lives among us. I am a sentinel, pacing the grounds, watching the drops fill up the back yard, dipping my hand in the pond that springs up on my street. I am a survivor. I look at all the cracks in the house, look to see if the house is melting, if it is warping, but only stains show up in birthmarks on the ceiling, only light flecks of paint come down. My floor is dry, my sky is falling, in bright flash. I am a trauma king. I have taken up a chair in the middle of the house, sit in it, change directions every 30 minutes without sleeping, which is to say, I am an eye on this hurricane. My thoughts drift between breaths. I wonder how much of the city is under water, wonder about the alerts horning at me. I am a maybe father. At the local fertility clinic, I wonder if my family is ok. I cannot protect them. I cannot swim to them, hoist them up on my shoulder. This rain won't cease. My three kids, frozen eggs, hopefully still frozen. Dry. I freeze with them. I hold my breath again. The black room spins. I am a comic head, thinking a silly moment, when a frozen Captain America jumps up, screams to a fallen friend — "for a moment, I had almost forgotten myself", I think I do this. I tell myself the power is still on for my kids. It has to be. I am a story teller. I wish I could go, read them bedtime stories until the water fills us up. I will swim them to shore, take them to my home. where the winds won't melt a thing away, where the rain won't crack their shells. I'll cup them, keep them warm, and sing all the songs I know, except for the corridos. Those are lost love songs, and these I save for if this night drowns us all.

"Cryogenic Kids" was written as an example of the very reason I choose to write: So I don't go crazy. At the height of the worst night around what was Tropical Storm Harvey, there was one point, where the rain didn't stop for a full 12 hours. It was a heavy rain. And having grown up in Galveston, TX, a barrier island — I know all too well what it takes to be vigilant as one can be (as if vigilance can affect 45+ MPH winds and over 15 trillion gallons of rain) in order to problem solve during a storm. I spent this long night, like I have always known. I stayed up with the storm. I paced the house, looking for leaks in the cracks of the floorboards, looking for leaks from the ceiling or the roof. And at one point, as a bit of a fog hits me, where I am no longer worried about the house, I just wanted to sleep — that my brain imagined the 3 eggs, the ones the wife and I have "on ice" as we are planning an IVF method to start our family. We saw the news and heard our phones go off — each time, looking at the rising water on the screen, trying not to panic at the thought that the IVF clinic was done for. So combat this feeling of dread — I wrote. I had this flash in my brain, comparing these fertilized eggs to Captain America as he appeared in Avengers #4. He was discovered frozen in ice, waiting to be thawed out ⏼ and I pictured these little kids, and I got scared. So, I wrote.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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