Christopher Soto


Christopher Soto (1991-present) is an El Salvadoran poet from Los Angeles, California. He was educated at New York University and is the author of Sad Girl Poems and a founding editor of Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color. Soto’s poems address themes of intimacy, trauma, and identity. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York and serves as an intern for the Poetry Society of America. Source

[Somewhere In Los Angeles] This Poem Is Needed

She charges her ankle bracelet // from the kitchen chair

            & Sunflowers in the white wallpaper [begin to wilt].


I wilt with them // before my sister // & her probation

            Officer [who comes over to the house unannounced].


Just as we are // preparing dinner // & what are we supposed to

            Do now. Cook for him?! Invite him to eat with us?? 


I am hacking the heads [from broccoli stems] & pretending

            His body is spread across the cutting board. [Ugh].


This officer keeps talking nonsense & nudging his eyes around

            The apartment. Looking for—drugs, alcohol


Alchemy. My sister waits for him to leave & then begins to rant.

            Ramble about // her childhood // & how she used to be


[Before house arrest]. The confines of these plastered walls

            & Her monitored route to work // where


Every corner has a cop [coddling a liquor store]. Protecting their

            Notion of freedom. // My neighborhood eats fear.


Mothers are getting // handcuffed & harassed. Homes are being

            Crushed [like cigarette butts]. Everyone I know


Hates the racist police & wants a revolution. // But we seldom

            Aim the gun... Have you heard // how the bullets


Sing their anthem // throughout the body?? // It sounds like

            God shutting the door— Bang. Bang.


When it’s dinnertime in heaven [& your officer’s knocking]

            Ignore him sister— let the door bruise.


[Let the bears devour our enemies]. We have no obligation

            To open // ourselves // for those who do us harm.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Poems of Place

Poems of the Everyday

Literary Devices:


a break between words within a metrical foot


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


A word that, when spoken aloud, has a sound that is associated with the thing or action being named.


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing


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

Varied Punctuation

diverse use of punctuation.