Joseph Rios – Driving to Fowler Ace Hardware

Joseph Rios

Driving to Fowler Ace Hardware

The half a can of beer in the holder
has gone warm from neglect.

The south bound golden state highway is the same
hot black tar it was when my grandfather drove it.

The oleander bushes sleep on old mattresses
sometimes lit on fire and left to burn.

The grape vines do nothing but watch
as the flames expose the mattresses’ wired skeletons.

Golddiggers, the strip joint, looks like a dusty
half burnt log with its black boarded windows.

I wave to that place like an old memory. There is smoke
over the propane plant. Shit, everything is on fire.

Even my memories are aflame, my grandfather’s too.
I’m fanning them, nursing them, like the last swig of this beer.

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