What you search for is
musk of old clothes,
utensils sans luster,
disappearance of the new,
markings-down of the faded,
the distressed but
nothing to be done:
a secondhand life
and reduces value yet you’re
still in the hunt,
a fox burrowing among
burial mounds of apparel,
non-brand sports gear,
dubious appliances in
a cast-off world.
Luis’s duckbill shadowed
His eyes. That’s how he
Liked it. He was quiet as a shadow.
When I elicited an answer, his mouth
Twisted into a rictus as though
Words were rudely forced.
It was a code not to be violated, how he
Came up, the homies he hung with. He was
A good-looking kid but thin
And slight. I see him in
Pendleton flannel and jeans. He
Merged into a wall like indios around
Garrulous friends, the cholas more
Butch than the boys. Fernando
His Guatemalan buddy
Drove a senior van, a stand-up dad.
Luis straightened up
And flew right one day then
Disappeared to Phoenix the next. Abigail
Called him a child. Luis
Offered to show me his gun tattoo. I
Forget when it was he told me about
The felony arrest over his head
After he pulled a Glock on a U.S. marshal. It
Wasn’t the drogas he dealt that was
The addiction, Luis said. It was the green.
Richard Oyama’s work has appeared in Premonitions: The Kaya Anthology of New Asian North American Poetry, The Nuyorasian Anthology, Breaking Silence, Dissident Song, A Gift of Tongues, About Place, Konch, Pirene’s Fountain, Malpais Review, Buddhist Poetry Review and other journals. He has a M.A. in English: Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. His first novel in a trilogy, A Riot Goin’ On, is forthcoming.