TWO POEMS by Benjamin Garcia

/ / Issue 14, Poetry

A TOAST TO THE DESTRUCTION OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH

              The waitress tending our party of three dips her tanned
torso over the table as she grabs the menus from us men. Well,

                                                     men minus one, since it appears that I’m the only guy
                                            not looking. Not looking at women anyway. The gold

              crucifix on her necklace rubs against my brother’s straw
as she withdraws and Jesus ascends again to the heaven

                                                     of her breasts. The Motorboat is what I order, described
                                            as something between a porter and a stout—now that’s

              my kind of cross. My father says there’s no such thing as sin
that’s large and sin that’s small. Drinking too much, he says,

                                                     is the sin, not the drinking, as he peers through our waitress’
                                            knapsack crop-top. There’s no such thing as small or large

              sizes here, the waitress says, man size is large, girl is small.
Do you really want to order the girl size? Fine, I want the girl

                                                     size. My brother laughs and my father looks away. It’s stupid,
                                            my brother says. But are you really telling me her body

              did nothing for you? My father looks at me like God
looking for the smallest redemption in Gomorrah, looking

                                                     for any reason in Sodom not to raze it. There is no reason
                                            for how things are sometimes—better to accept. My father

              didn’t raise me to be a girly man, a fact that might bother him,
except for the other fact: he didn’t raise me. It bothers him.

                                                     Some people are beyond saving. Me, I tell my brother, as I look
                                            over his shoulder at the bearded roughneck going gaga

              for our waitress as he sips from his bottle, there is nothing
straight about me, except maybe my hair, and even that

                                                     has gotten kinky with age. I drink beer because I’m thirsty
                                            when I eat pretzels. I don’t have a prayer when I say amen.

    

    

    

REASONS FOR ABOLISHING ICE

                         with a first line by Bei Dao

because the ice age is over now
ice
because this isn’t our first winter
ice
because the polar caps are melting
ice
because hands up if they say freeze
ice
because it’s getting hard to breathe
ice
because it feels like walking on glass
ice
because crops are rotting in the field
ice
because it’s clear it won’t last forever
ice
because it looks like a diamond but isn’t
ice
because you are here to take our people
ice
because I think we know enough of hate
ice
because we’re gathering around the fire
ice
because snowflakes also cause whiteouts
ice
because you took the people out of police
ice
because black is considered more dangerous
ice
because I see you——I see you——I see you
ice
because they say the polar caps aren’t melting
ice
because a person could slip through at any moment
ice

because you say we can’t use our voice to launch an avalanche ice
because if you want papers then we’ll crush you like booklice thumbed into paper

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