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Staccato dawnlight pours through the gaps
of the aluminum roof as he spits
the word at my feet. The wet thickness of saliva.

Chicle Bolita, he is called. And the others:
Luis El Pelon. Arnoldo Penguino. José Pihuamo.
Onofre El Cuervo. Nacho. Mosca. Consta.

And the word is flesh. And the word is teacher.
Training and taming me. Like the hot curl
of fiber when a rope tenses around a hock.

Each morning in the idle dark, names
stretch out, seamless in the unrisen day.
This infinitude of yawning and scratching:

the choir of animals mixed with calls of men.
Who knows who? What are we in our darkest
moments? That searching and searching.

The ablated vision. Only sounds to shape
the bodies. Only names to cascade around us.
We are all you, standing there: denim, hoof,

hide, flannel. Blowing steam from the surface
of Styrofoam coffee. We are only this
singular throat whispering that singular word.


You Were Buried in Stars



In that open gaze, the blonde hills furrowing,
seamless in their direction, I can hear you.

I can speak to you. Grasp you from nothing and brush
the wiry goat hairs from your collar. Together

we can wad our fists at the spent day, at our bent spines,
the demands that labor makes of us.

Hot toil and the animal bleats. Somewhere in that roughness
I can still hear you. And we are talking,

drawing out phrases in the smudged glass of truck windows,
or carved on lunchroom tables,

pieced together in the early flights of bats. We plunge
into that vastness, we shake fatigue from our shoulders,

we become what the world needs. And the world needed
you gone. Needed you to be more than a melody

kept beneath a tongue. When they closed the farm
and you returned home, I did not know I would

never see you again. I did not know of the violent contingencies
that define our lives. The pale hush of the moon

spreading on your sprawled body. Where can I find you now?
I look outward, across, upward.


Jordan Escobar is a writer in Jamaica Plain, MA. His work can be found or forthcoming in Zone 3, Willow Springs, Colorado Review and elsewhere. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and been the recipient of a fellowship with the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. He currently divides his time teaching at Emerson College and Babson College and working as a professional beekeeper.

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