We sleep on eggshell-stuffed mattresses and brace for the Big One. Repossessed feathers swirl in the haze of So Cal sky like bruises of battered angles. We do our best to suppress thirst. Longneck Coronas are nursed to conserve stored bottles of water. Peanut butter rations are preserved as if Skippy were in the midst of famine. Our babies are born hungry; seismographs register their cries. Families have become too accustomed to aftershocks. Our anxiety measures infinity on the Richter scale. We live our lives above a fickle backbone.
We sat on the curb and bribed grownups for beer. Baby-faced seniors on a Saturday night. Adults denied us as if they were the hottest girls in school and we were who we were. But we courted rejection and carried no shame. Our perseverance and pooled funds bought a sympathetic good man. Good Samaritan who broke laws for the wellbeing of others. We were well at being young and drunk. “Thanks. You can keep the change.” He came out with a case of Coronas and a pack of Pampers, delivered our beer, and disappeared. He, no doubt, a former neglected prom date. Today the man’s baby is almost grown and sits outside a liquor store. I want to buy beer for the underage boy and his thirsty friends. To watch them tilt their heads back, bring the bottles to their mouths, as they look up at worlds they’re now man enough to explore.
Daniel Romo’s first book of poetry, Romancing Gravity, is forthcoming from Pecan Grove Press, and his second book of poetry, When Kerosene’s Involved, is forthcoming from Black Coffee Press. He teaches creative writing, and lives in Long Beach, CA. More of his writing can be found at danielromo.wordpress.com.