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June 9, 2021

Two Poems

Stephen Energia

Middle School in Allura Red

I violin my Slurpee’s straw against the lid,
a nasal ode, all chalkboard and styrofoam.
The straw belts fluorescent notes, cherry
flavored melodies in a luscious snow-melt.

Which story am I telling: my best friend jokes
over my concierto, or the straw peeks out
a rescued turtle? The cashier smiles, asks
about my mother as the receipt chirps out. She tias 

each of us with a tender snark. Which story? Ice
agents detain cashiers nationwide, snarl,
it may seem, on company whim. They reaper
through stores who’ve sued corporate. This much I know

every story hides another story—
what have I been running towards and from?


Catalog of Minor Admissions

What have I been running towards and from?
Fandoms, potlucks, card tables. My patient grave. 
A pastry’s sensual drip, some flavor whispering
gone. The shirts that don’t fit, the folds I’m taught to hide.

More beaming friends, more wailing friends, more beautiful nerds
holding each other. A half-finished website.
The long hike’s end. My UTI treatment bill.
I have been running towards my people.

[A region] [tilde] [nombre] [foothold] [pride].
Lovers, mentors, circles gone sour—my house trapped mother.
The new cheese shop, cappuccinos, more housing lost.
Sunburns. The struggling roll of my RR’s, those half

flightless birds. I’ve been running away from my people.
Kids learning soccer. This country’s bloodied walls.