Volume 20, Number 3

in line

He wanted to tell the woman in the photo she had failed: the morning supplication on the edge of her tongue had been worthless. To tell her she was wrong about his hermanos from the barrio; they weren't in his bed because of the engravings of Andrew Jackson in his wallet. He's worn out from praying to Juana Inez de la Cruz while immigrants are shamelessly gunned down on city streets. He grew wings on both sides of his temples, and unless something is done about the ban on same-sex marriages in California he's not voting in another election, or signing petitions to the UN Committee on Human Rights. His Social Security benefits won't be enough to pay next month's bills.

in line
at welfare office
rejected haiku

He wanted to break the piñata. Write rengay about pancakes, and frogs in the fish tank. Write about his lover's naked body imprinted on white sand, but he's almost sixty and barely manages on his own. Almost sixty and afraid his bed is no longer a battleground.

leftover quilt
scrap becomes
thong on the beach

—Sergio Ortiz