Poetry Break


by José Antonio Rodríguez

from The Backlit Hour
There was the year I wished
our sentences had no periods.
The year you said something meaningful
about a constellation. The year
I pretended to see it because
that was the one thing I was good at.
I smiled through all our arguments
and you reminded me that English
was not my first language.
I said let’s go sit under
the old high school bleachers
because that’s what people do in the movies
when they want to see things from a distance.
But there was a concrete stadium instead
and under it only public restrooms.
That was the year I thought
a high school diploma could fill
the hold in my stomach. You grinned
when I wrote h. s. graduate
on my Burger King application.
We said nothing when we found out
the pay was minimum wage, how
I’d still need coupons to eat there,
the ones from the junk mail.

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