Sous Rature



This Guy Cortez Wedged Next to Me
Stephen Webber

That guy Cortez is standing
in line beside me,
and I am struck by pairs of things:

couples holding hands
her Mexican glasses vvv his cowboy boots.

Unpaired objects vv twos in things
the kempt figure selling strawberry shaved ice
from the back of his rusted pickup –

there is a side of him I never see
the same is true for him of me.

Cortez recalls his earlier ecstatic chant of
Yomaloma, yomaloma, convinced it means something.

"Back in the early days of Earth First," he says,
"You and me, Ojibwa Round River, such-and-such."
And he goes on like that.

A day ago I had dripped nude near my wife’s pool:
“You’re what I want and
everything about you is right,” she said.

Yomaloma, yomaloma, says Cortez
twice vv so it exists.

I toss pebbles at the washed-out road
to smooth it out vv make it reflective.

Each porcupined house along the lane
waits to be atop a slight hill.

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