small talk or in my hand galaxies

it looks like the thief rocketed
their whole self through
the bull’s eye of my driver’s side door
and you’re not wrong to expect
the old joke about there being
nothing in my car worth the thieving
or maybe i’ve caught you eye rolling
please god not another
poem about windows but i cross my
fingers hope to die suck on diesel
and be hogtied i’ll avoid simile
for the eye and soul and i’ll be
careful as the fixer’s hands
who came to pry waterlogged
lining from my inner door
her small boots crunching sun in the
glittered puddle of fractured glass
i think how i didn’t think to sweep
but even so she is still kind i think
to get her a glass of tap water now
but then think of all the stairs
she says this big sol reminds her
of cuba y tu she asks but i don’t
relish speaking spanish anymore
i tell her no i have always lived
here in miami i lie but offer my father
was a mason and bueno too at that
i’ve given her this one fractled truth as if
it could be understood not to mistake
my soft handshake for ignorance
of all the working classes but she
is not thinking of me only the door’s
motor grinding she asks but what do i do
i hope she will ask
if maybe i am a mason myself but no
i say i am maybe a writer
me too she beams and offers a full palm
of what she’d vacuumed from the doorframe
shattered glass beads of blue refraction
wonder she says wonder at all they have
seen she insists ver towards the tiny eyelets
en mi mano galaxias she says and i wonder
how often i have mistaken myself
for the seer for the see-er
and others simply as the seen.

Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley, “small talk or in my hand    galaxies” from Dēmos: An American Multitude. Copyright © 2021 by Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company LLC on behalf of Milkweed Editions,