Join us this Tuesday in continuing our National Poetry Month celebration with a guest poem by Juliana Castillo, a Philosophy major of the class of 2025. Juliana uses imagery of membranes, liquid and light in this fictional “love letter” to a poet who was influential to the narrator.

Dear deceased poet, who lived to 

Twenty-five – I miss you, even though you died

Years before I was born; years before today, when 

I am already twenty-six. Dear deceased poet, I can 

Hear your voice, telling me that life is a membrane

To stretch around the vesicles of water, nutrients, and the other

Vacu-sealed ingredients that enable existence.

They put you away, corked up your bottle of

Fizzing champagne that stretched the boundary between

Toxin and pacemaker,

Hoping the bubbles would 

Dampen themselves smashing against the side

Of the bottle. They didn’t understand the mechanics:

That when you keep pressure in a space,


It emerges, in a paroxysm of joy. 

Dear deceased poet, thank you

For teaching me that life is a succession of 

Dark things, but that if you polish the darkness,

It reflects light. Perhaps they didn’t want us to 

Know about the silver-flecked darkness, the eighteen-carat

Abyss. Or perhaps they didn’t know themselves

And were frightened by the light you saw – 

The darkness they saw – 

In your eyes. Dear deceased poet,

Did you ever think of me? Did you ever see your midnight

Reflected in the heavens of my unborn eyes? 


Deceased poet, who taught me that life is a shirt stretched

Too tightly over a stomach gorged on faces and emotions and thoughts

And words – a belly pregnant with an excess of vitality –

You exploded into me, detonated your energy into my

Being. Come – swell my mind with your liquid, 

Pour metaphors into my veins until my eyes stream with the

Sparkling wine of elation.

Elation at the mere presence of a vesicle, a central vesicle:

Your words, giving me water to respire. Dear deceased

Poet – your words whisper through my fingertips, drumming

Braille into my nerves; they run like water through my throat. Poet, 

Deceased, but still dear (though they’ve obscured you in the blinding light)

Never regret writing your explosive words – not revolutionary

But explosive. Even though you never had the 


Of cork from lips,

You had a sparkling shattering of glass on floor – 

And now, I lap the stones

To drink in your exuberance. 

Did you enjoy this poem from 186 South College’s National Poetry Month series? We are still accepting guest posts from Honors students through April and May. If you would like to share your work to be featured on 186 South College, please submit through this link.

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