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.
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
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 once–sproutling 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.