Ashley Inguanta

Dedication: To The One I Will Marry

Not too long after you tell me about your mother–how she, at 7, lost her father in World War II, how she grew to live with his ghost, the love he could not give–I see a coyote in the night, running below a billboard for $12 roses. I wonder, if all the lonely people of this world could fit roses into our bodies’ stories, tell me: Will the woman I marry come down from a future’s heaven
just to place each petal in my mouth, a kiss?

Will we all heal when heaven meets flower?
Will I find miracle when her finger presses my tongue?
Will she make her way here–worn from traveling through time–reaching out, hungry and tired, wishing for me to love her
just as much as I have always wanted to find something wild and rare and lone, traveling like a warrior through the night?

I found a warrior once.
She ran like a soldier searching for horizon.
Gun in her hands, she ran far from me.
She said, “We’ve been through battle.”
She said, “I love you.”
And then she was gone, over the moon, like a fairytale.

Maybe one day she will shoot for the Earth, and I’ll catch her golden bullet between my teeth, finding its place as an egg in a nest of roses.

Then, a woman from the future will wear a ring that matches mine.

Maybe she will open me like an oyster, hold the cluster of roses–bullet dead center–in her hands. Maybe she will place this gift deep between my lungs. Maybe she will follow right after. Maybe she will become a coyote in the night. Maybe she will become the thing that shapes each bomb inside of me.


Ashley Inguanta is a writer and photographer who is driven by landscape, place. She is the author of The Way Home (Dancing Girl Press), For The Woman Alone (Ampersand Books), and her third collection, Bomb, is forthcoming with Ampersand books this year. Her work has appeared in Bartleby Snopes, Corium Magazine, PANK, Wigleaf, OCHO, Adrienne: A Poetry Journal of Queer Women, the Rough Magick anthology, and other literary spaces. Ashley is the Art Director of SmokeLong Quarterly, and this year she received an Orlando Weekly “Best Of” award for her poetry. Currently she is working with musician Sarah Morrison, creating on a series of projects that combine music, visual art, and language. Her favorite sweet is chocolate cake—simple, elegant. You can find her at ashleyinguanta.com.

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