Roy Guzmán

Litter 

                         For Roberto Sosa

I read garbage
unlike the poetry

recommended
to me by major

magazines
the trash

in which you
dispose

of Yesterday
before it starts

to reek
& your neighbors

think you’ve killed
your husband

your adopted child
or possibly

even yourself.
Because they’ve seen

how you hustle
the corner like a

Biblical beast
hungering for what

she already has.
I read cereal boxes

shrunken
nutritional facts

the main headlines
a child swindled

at birth.
Cake candles

punctured balloons
the tail of an iguana

deifying the lid.
Revenge is one

of the first stories
my grandmother

read to me
when she warned my mother

I was a magnet for
impurities.

Any whisper
I noticed

I heard it tenfold
& reported it

to my mother
at a time

when she worked
as a secretary

for the Germans
in Honduras.

She’d wear tailored
suits

& I was proud
to be the only one

who ate chicken
for lunch.

The garbage I
now eat in the States

has the bleach taste
my mother would pour

in the toilet bowls
of wealthy family homes

to save us from
living

in a whorehouse.
I see you hustling

not in the style
of Catherine Deneuve

in Belle de Jour
but like rain water

that curdles into swamps.
In the morning

when my neighbor’s
baby bawls

the garbage truck pulls
into the parking lot

a man gets off
the truck

if the operation
begs for assistance.

As a child
I watched other children

my age move to the pile
of waste

excavating livelihood
from broken bottles

classifying the dead
from the sellable

scavenger homes
marbles on cardboard.

A few lempiras
would have altered

how the ecosystem
functions

from the standpoint
of a child.

Even when there isn’t
garbage in sight

it’s inside my nostrils
your smell

inside my pies
a country

whose memories I see
in pizza leftovers

bubblegum wrappers
shoes worn

beyond their expiration
date

your feet on my face
the new things I’m into

the rotten
eggs & milk between

us.
I see garbage

when the fan
in the bathroom burbles

to reveal my teeth
& I see me—uno de ellos.

Roy Guzmán

<em>Edit Libroafricante</em> Roy Guzmán

Roy Guzmán’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in BorderSenses, Red Savina Review, Black Fox, Eunoia, The Glass Coin, and via his blog: rgman.wordpress.com. He works extensively with haikus, the concept of autobiography and hybrid narratives. An English instructor in Miami, FL, and a native of Honduras, Roy also explores citizenship and identity in his work. Follow him on Twitter (@dreamingauze).