Eduardo C. Corral


Eduardo C. Corral is the son of Mexican immigrants. Graywolf Press published his second book, Guillotine, in 2020. His first book, Slow Lightning, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. His poems have appeared in Ambit, New England Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and Poetry. He's the recipient of residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and Civitella Ranieri. He's also the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Hodder Fellowship and the National Holmes Poetry Prize, both from Princeton University. He teaches in the MFA program in Creative Writing at North Carolina State University. He lives in Raleigh. Source

In Colorado My Father Scoured and Stacked Dishes

in a Tex-Mex restaurant. His co-workers,

unable to utter his name, renamed him Jalapeño.


If I ask for a goldfish, he spits a glob of phlegm

into a jar of water. The silver letters


on his black belt spell Sangrón. Once, borracho,

at dinner, he said: Jesus wasn’t a snowman.


Arriba Durango. Arriba Orizaba. Packed

into a car trunk, he was smuggled into the States.


Frijolero. Greaser. In Tucson he branded

cattle. He slept in a stable. The horse blankets


oddly fragrant: wood smoke, lilac. He’s an illegal.

I’m an Illegal-American. Once, in a grove


of saguaro, at dusk, I slept next to him. I woke

with his thumb in my mouth. ¿No qué no


tronabas, pistolita? He learned English

by listening to the radio. The first four words


he memorized: In God We Trust. The fifth:

Percolate. Again and again I borrow his clothes.


He calls me Scarecrow. In Oregon he picked apples.

Braeburn. Jonagold. Cameo. Nightly,


to entertain his cuates, around a campfire,

he strummed a guitarra, sang corridos. Arriba


Durango. Arriba Orizaba. Packed into

a car trunk, he was smuggled into the States.


Greaser. Beaner. Once, borracho, at breakfast,

he said: The heart can only be broken


once, like a window. ¡No mames! His favorite

belt buckle: an águila perched on a nopal.


If he laughs out loud, his hands tremble.

Bugs Bunny wants to deport him. César Chávez


wants to deport him. When I walk through

the desert, I wear his shirt. The gaze of the moon


stitches the buttons of his shirt to my skin.

The snake hisses. The snake is torn.




Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Intersectionality & Culture

Poems of Place

Literary Devices:


an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference


two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Sensory Detail

words used to invoke the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell)


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”