Jesus works at the tacos y mariscos
place two blocks from my cramped
studio. I usually speak to him in Spanish
because his English is still broken up
like tequila bottles in the alley.
He’d gotten mixed up in some drug
dealing in his hometown (Nuevo Laredo)
and came here to reset.
It’s been three years. He’s always
working just to keep enough food
in the fridge and make rent
in his cardboard apartment.
I toss him an extra tip when
I’ve got it. We’re friends, amigos, both
know how life can beat you with a bat
and then push you in front of traffic.
His hours make it hard for him to get
his papers. His boss won’t give him a damn
day off. I got him the forms and he’s filled
them out. They’re sitting collecting dust
like comets crossing a cold universe, alone.