POETRY January 7, 2022

Elegy for Armando

-ito and then -itoito,
our joke, the Spanish diminutive
to make something smaller,
but how much smaller can you be, Armandito,
than a speck of ash settling on my shoulders?
Your bullet holes weep, alone and lonely.
On the ranch, you taught me how to lasso a chivo,
with the unforgiving grace of rope. Some nooses
cinch tight around a life not ready to give,
youth held in abeyance. I imagine
your fatherless son. At lunch, you and I taught
each other to pray in disparate languages,
but violence is a word carried across borders.
On the morning drive from Corcoran to Shandon,
I pass all the little farm towns in between.
This is the California you and I know, where the grass
withers in undulations like yellowed tongues
whispering No mames guey. Slowly the sun rises,
slowly we disappear into smaller versions of ourselves.

Jordan Escobar is a writer in Jamaica Plain, MA. His work can be found or forthcoming in Willow Springs, Colorado Review, Southern Humanities Review and elsewhere. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net anthology, and been the recipient of a fellowship with the Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. He currently divides his time teaching at Emerson College, Babson College and working as a professional beekeeper.