Headed Home, Contemplating Respite

by Alejandro Derieux-Cerezo 

 

after picking up a burrito  
 
Maybe it’s my roommate asking me to text  
him when I get back from this altered  
trek—or how my eyes blur tightropes of threaded  
light between lamps over the intersection.  
The way I treat my body like soft produce:  
look both ways twice, so I can tell him I’m safe,  
because he deserves it.  
 
Maybe it’s my last roommate, who never knew  
my whereabouts until I walked in,  
the way daylight does, at 5 a.m. He was  
thoughtful enough not to think of me,  
with bitten pride, smoke and lust sunken into  
the chest of my jacket like canines.  
The kind of lust that makes people compromise,  
come home surplused in expensive pizza  
and pieces of bread in braids like the twist  
of char over the bark of firewood.  
 
Maybe its  
the way you often left me: parted of several  
dozen dollars, chin-to-hairline beet red  
from the bite of the wind or otherwise.  
 
Maybe it’s the thought of a pound of flesh,  
or the tender skin on this burrito.  
The way it will break under my teeth  
like the earth being sowed in the field: neat rows  
after blades.  
 
Maybe it’s a glimpse of you on the street,  
or the shame of imagining (after  
all these months) your face changed like a farmer  
after the harvest.  
The way your sunbaked wrinkles spell apologies,  
arms bundled in rapeseed and tomatoes.  
Sometimes I picture you in the bed I  
return to now. The thought overwhelms  
the senses, like naming every spice in  
a dish by smell: the rotten inability  
to know what you wanted from me mixed with  
the sharp fear of your old violence, the people  
you’ve hurt before, and the pace of the cars  
on the street ahead. I imagine they’ve destroyed  
things like you have.  
 
Maybe it’s the crop of loose envelopes,  
the mail which still arrives for you—or, once again,  
this burrito. I swear, this may be it,  
this whole damn meal.  
The way it will pull at the edges of  
my mouth when I loosen my bite, contort  
my lips to savor, like a moment.  
 
Maybe it’s simpler recipes, directions  
demanding hands more gentle than I imagine  
yours now. Hands soft enough to fold me in a bounty  
of ingredients without tearing through  
my edges. Memories of you kind; the parts  
poorly weighed. You’ve left me with fields  
caked in ash dried to oncesproutling leaves—instead,  
I want to remember the soft give of a pleather  
couch, or an office chair, or a mattress  
on the floor (or even the give of the floor).  
I don’t want to reap barren warning signs  
or plenties of future circumspection.  
I want a time I spent with you warm and  
unspoiled—and I know  
humans are not burritos, but it’s  
the way I can hold those thoughts in the aftertaste  
and be there. 

 

 

 

About the Author:

Alejandro Derieux-Cerezo is a poet from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is currently an undergraduate studying for a BS in Physics at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. His work has appeared in Spires Intercollegiate Arts and Literary Magazine.

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