By Diana Ayala-Carrillo


you’re not wrong

I, too often 

go inside my mind 

leaving you behind


how to explain 

intimacy does not dissolve



on borrowed time, babe

at the whim of 

men in suits

who will never know


The Sacrifice 


leaving  family




for a taste of



Cliff divers ready to jump 

unaware the sea is coming to a boil


borrowed clothes

borrowed apartments

borrowed lives


what world?

no, but seriously

what is your world?

a galaxy beyond mine

such freedom, travels

are rarely afforded

to us


but yes

no problem!

I reassure you

we are not different

you and i

next Bud and tequila round 

Is on me


You always take

I always give



two places at once

more than one job

ingles sin barerras 

smoke less, drink more

cash check, wire money 

western union dreams



the fear

at arms length

a deportation letter

suits at the door, ready to announce 

that the jig is up

this life was never  yours


we stand, disgraced

yet unsurprised 

knowing the end near

forever looming 


A recurring dream

of brown men and women

standing on a vast dirt road

tears streaming down their face

violently crying out to their mothers

for forgiveness


when I awake

I think of my father’s hands 


But one morning

I swear to you

I see myself as child 

on the front page of the Times

round faced brown child, straight black hair

weeping for her mother


we will never know

exactly how much of her

dissolved in that moment

but yet

we come to this place

and will continue to do so


pray for us


This poem was written in response to the exhibition I Come To This Place, which was on view the summer of 2019 at Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, NY.

Diana Ayala-Carrillo is a photographer, writer, and curator in the past working at Artforum now living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has shown in Rockrgrl Magazine, at the Knockdown Center in Maspeth, Queens, and in Culturework Magazine, among others. She has curated exhibitions and screenings at Outpost, Gallery 1412, and Spring/Break Art Show, focusing on interdisciplinary artists working in photography, video, performance, and installation.