“Sunday, San Gabriel Valley” by Gustavo Hernandez

A week after I kissed him only because I could,
he nearly brought me into a house
to meet his dying mother.
But, at my request, he delivered the flowers,
and I was left in the car rolling
the peeled-off barcode between my fingers.
His city was gravel
quarries, some speedway, a dam—
more gravel taking
in the last of the day’s red gradient,
and next was the peeling yellow of a restaurant
where the owner knew his father.
On the way there, his childhood was nicked
on and pulled through apartment windows
and middle school chain link. With urgency.
The crumbling parking stops. Fingers
pushing between mine, shadow cylinders
of the old brewery disappearing into
the highway. And forty miles south,
without the need for me to think of it,
my family was a doorway expanding,
all tomorrows. Whole. The ignorance
I used to pin the sigh at the end of his eagerness
to only one side of our age difference.


Gustavo Hernandez is a Mexican immigrant poet from Southern California. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Acentos Review, Assaracus, Reed, Sonora Review and others.