All I want is for my sister to Live Más

My face is a bloated brown moon. No craters
to speak of. Thank you melanin. No thank you
space dust in my moon nostrils giving into an
audience of pale art school kids. With whom
I am not done making mistakes with because
all my real friends dropped like sour cream
& ground beef & cheese & oh God. I dyed
my hair in the soda fountain & my sister thought
it was the funniest thing in the world & when she
grows up she will not make the same poor choices
as I. In the future there will be more paths
for the weird brown youths of Long Island. Her
college friends can stay alive so she won’t hang
around bad dudes. Like Adam. Who would buy
me loaded XXL nachos when I called him daddy
& ask for my thoughts on his insatiable poems
about thin white women & how more of them
should hurt for him & I truly truly didn’t know
what to do with that information when I raised
this brown child. Who will become browner &
browner as she gets older & older. She will
avoid these people after she meets the friends
I make when I am better & know what it means
to be loved & respected & not want to be a token
or jester or experiment or soundboard or punching
bag or substitute for therapy. I asked the universe
or God or whoever to substitute my loss for her
self-esteem. She’s 11 now. She shows me the
funny TikTok videos. We used to watch Vines
in the back seat of our mom’s minivan. She never
let me sit in the front. She wanted me to hold her
hand. I remember letting her take a sip of Baja Blast
& how her eyes lit up at the first soda she ever had.

J.C. Rodriguez is a pinoy-latinx poet and educator from Westbury, NY. His writing has appeared in Voicemail Poems, Meow Meow Pow Pow, Tilde, and elsewhere. He is a poetry reader for Interstellar Flight Press and a Fall 2020 Brooklyn Poets Fellow. Occasionally, he releases zines under his “imprint”, Follow the Sea. Before the menu collapse, his favorite custom Taco Bell order was a Spicy Potato Soft Taco with Steak.  

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