Michelle Peñaloza

Prayer to the Patron Saint of All Lost



Dogs, Causes, Text Messages, and Leopard Print—

What’s your number? Can I call? And then you might

Help me reclaim the boys I’ve lost, recover my fight

For the right to party? Let me be honest. The glint

Of my medallions no longer sings. Ever since

I began my constitutionals, I find what I most prize

Lost about the city: pleather jacket, cans of Tab, live

Goldfish, a rolodex of texts: i rly luv u and reminisce

Much? I quote O’Hara often (which makes sense

given my keenness for cigarettes and neon signs):

I am the least difficult. All I want is boundless love.

Of course I pray to you. Bending low my head,

silently pleading for what I can’t ever seem to find:

the few, right words, the ones that could be enough.


MICHELLE PEÑALOZA grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and earned her M.F.A. from the University of Oregon. Her poetry has appeared most recently in The Asian American Literary Review, TriQuarterly, Hobart, and Rhino.  She is a Jack Straw Writer, the recipient of the Miriam McFall Starlin Poetry Award, fellowships from Kundiman, the Richard Hugo House, and Oregon Literary Arts, as well as scholarships from VONA Voices, Vermont Studio Center, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. Her chapbook, landscape / heartbreak, is forthcoming from Two Sylvias Press in Spring 2015.