by Larry Narron

You roll down your window
a half mile before
we reach it, braking so gently
I don’t even notice
what a sloppy drunk
this wind has become—
now too dizzy to dance
with the brand-new Betty
Boop bobblehead
I bought for your birthday.
You tell me moments
like these make you feel
as if you’re taken
about as seriously
as your favorite cartoon—
all just tits & ass
& a voice people only
know for its pitch.
But you seem to be doing
just fine as you pull
us soberly into the checkpoint,
holding your own
hands frozen
despite how they
must burn, your fingers
strangling the wheel
to keep them from slipping
away from the layer
of sweat I just noticed
down all the hours
below ten & two.
It’s shocking to watch you
focus your gaze
enough to melt a hole
in the dashboard
big enough for both
your eyes to crawl into
as the agent’s pocked,
round face drifts
into the frame of your window
dragging its shadow
behind it—a caricature
of the moon, wearing
sunglasses, grinning
as it comes in close
enough to unroll a cartoon
tongue like a carpet right over you.
Despite the crater
it has for a mouth, the moon
says nothing as we
both hold our breath
& watch as it slowly pushes
itself all the way
into the car,
near enough to brush
your neck
with the tip
of its crescent.
The moon rotates
to stare me down as the silver
gravity of its shades
fully eclipses your knees,
tugs wrinkled tides
up from the blue
polka dots of your skirt,
hauling its shadow
over the valley
your legs make out of your lap
as it continues to trace
the path of its orbit
all the way to
the passenger side of the cab.
Though I still
have a voice,
I have no words
when the moon’s mouth drips
& says,
Does your girlfriend
speak any English at all?

Larry Narron grew up in San Diego County and studied English and creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley, where he attended Joyce Carol Oates’s short fiction workshop and was awarded the Dorothy Rosenberg Memorial Prize in Lyric Poetry. His poems have appeared in Phoebe, The Brooklyn Review, Santa Clara Review, The Boiler, The Tishman Review, and elsewhere, and they have been nominated for the Best of the Net and Best New Poets.