Joseph Rios – Death of Josefo (Part 2)

Joseph Rios

Death of Josefo (Part 2)

Josefo is writing a poem sitting on his dad’s lawnmower
drawing diagonal lines over a client’s backyard.
The Fresno heat comes up from the ground
and into your nostrils like a worm reaching out of from the soil
for the claws of a sparrow. And maybe Josefo is the sparrow
and never been the worm. He has devoured every one
of these stories born in the hardpan under his feet.
The old woman who pays his father just now
became a worm to his pen. She’s standing still
behind double pane glass, a wall of picture windows
trimmed with white paint. He can only ever see her nightgown
and it is barely distinguishable from the folds on the curtain.

His brothers, too, become worms swooped up by the poem
writing itself in his mind loud enough to drown out the engine
driving the blades beneath his seat and even the blower
on his brother’s back. Josefo is writing a poem
that will help him lift a full bucket of grass over his shoulder
He is writing a poem that will make that lady feel
just one ounce of shame. Josefo’s poem is taking a picture
of his father’s face after he has just splashed it
with hose water. In the poem, Josefo and his brothers have
their shirts off and they’re swimming in that lady’s pool.
She’s not in the frame. There is no house, no lady,
and not a single blade of grass to be mowed.

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