tell me about the last river you were in or touched

tell me about the last river you were in or touched
after seven rejection letters in a row
i’ve dropped more acid
than is necessary and am standing
in a taco bell drive thru shifting my weight
from foot to foot reciting he died
at dawn into the speaker and lorca appears
opens my hand and in it places a wax lemon
saying now you have palmed all of your rejection
hold no like a fragrance
through the speaker the guy says
please pull forward
i’ve ordered two soft shell tacos double
meat and nothing to drink
walking behind the the strip mall
i hike the cleared land
underneath the powerlines running up the mountain
at the peak jim harrison sits
a one-eyed small god crushed
cartons of american spirit blues and yellow leaves
from legal pads at his bare feet no one is asking you
to do this he says and when i ask are you here
for me he says just like no one
is asking me to do this i leave him
one of my tacos and he slips a nip of stoli
in my pocket already there’s no time
to get back down the mountain before dark
on the hike downhill when i realize
he keeled over dead three years ago
i reach into my pocket
and instead there is a slip of paper
where i have written tell me
about the last river you were in
or touched

Steve Barichko is here for now, as is the case for everyone. His work has most recently appeared in Kissing Dynamite Poetry (Issue 19) and High Shelf Press (Issue XIX). He is working on a chapbook of quarantine poetry. He can be found on Instagram and Twitter @stevebarichko.

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