p
o
e
m
s

He should have stayed home and didn’t move beyond
seeing himself in the windows of the storefronts, Vegas,

Rodeo Drive, the palm lined streets of Miami where petrichor
sticks to sinuses and where the secretly despised teens

in bikinis cast wide gazes. All this languor tugs him whistling
over boulevards, exhaling the combustible air and record

high temps of whatever paradise causes him to swerve
to the wavy heat off asphalt. The jobs he’s held

were about possibility. The rind of a cut orange holding
something bejeweled beneath, yet he’s tired of pretending

to fix the motel ice machine or attending to the one neon tube
that doesn’t light. The schemes he’s dreamed shouldn’t work

and they don’t—or haven’t. But then there’s the interstate,
the smell of the rain falling over the pavement like fugue

and the smell of the peels in the car seat, sickeningly fragrant
in the sun. The tank, full of gas and his hands going numb.

Oliver de la Paz is the author of five books of poetry. The Boy in the Labyrinth will be published by University of Akron Press is Summer 2019. 

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