Joseph Rios – Death of Josefo (Part 1)

Joseph Rios

Death of Josefo (Part 1)

Josefo is a teenager climbing a ladder
while he snaps this pic of his grandfather
on his new flip phone. He walks over to the tarp
covered swamp cooler. The roof crunches
under his feet but he can still hear his grandpa
shouting directions while scraping the ladder
against the camelias. Their petals are undoubtedly falling
and pasting themselves to the sidewalk. The dog is following him.
You can hear the chain dragging over the concrete.

Josefo is a boy in a photograph wearing LA gear hightops.
He’s holding a wad of wet sand at a beach in SoCal.
His cousin Erica is running toward the waves.
He’s running after her when he hears his name
from his mother’s mouth. He’s paralyzed there
as the dollops of sand melt from gaps in his fingers.
He’s in the photograph now, as we speak,
staring at her with a hand that never depletes of sand.
Josefo is not writing this poem
He is suspended in the photographs taken
by his mother on disposable cameras
and developed at the corner drug store.

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