A crowd waving sticks marches toward us.
My father pushes me up a tree and climbs behind me.
Higher, he says. Higher. He believes we’ll be fine
as long as somebody doesn’t knock down the tree.
The crowd is shouting: Death to the Shah!
I’m pretty sure someone will knock it down.
On second thought, it was a rotten idea
to attend the ambiguity conference on our honeymoon.
The good news is that there isn’t any right or wrong.
Just because you are right doesn’t mean I am wrong.
And even if you don’t understand what I’m doing,
it doesn’t mean I am doing the wrong thing
Cousin Jenny sends me a fish in the mail from Havana,
packed in a form of ice that never melts.
I place it beside a large pile of marijuana.
It is so beautiful no one notices the pot.
Julia’s magnetic gaze. The iron in my hand.
She blinks twice. I drop everything.
I spend the first week of Ramadan reading a 600 page
novelized homo-erotic poem which boils down to syrup.
How quickly guilt can lead to resentment, and anger
to jealousy and betrayal, and nowhere does it lead to liberty
even though it’s a French novel full of contradictory words.
My favorite part of Ramadan—an extravagant petit dejeuner.
Puts down phone. “That was Janet,” Tommy says.
“Willy and Janet just got $30 million.”
Pleading expression. Mouth open. Blinking.
“I mean, what do I have to do around here to get $30 million?”
My mother is crying so hard
her tears change the color of Texas.
I am kneeling.
I am kissing each small green stain.
an Austrian racing chopper,
a lonely intersection in southwest Virginia,
a flatbed ribbed with logs crossing over the painted divider.
My father, driving the truck.
Barrett Warner is the author of the forthcoming collection Why Is It So Hard to Kill You? (Jane’s Boy, 2015) and My Friend Ken Harvey (Publishing Genius, 2014).