What joy to say our short, winter days are behind us now. Gone the old life we filled with empty laughter, the times we’d pack the backseat with every hitchhiking clown we happened upon—our record was eight until the year our fathers died. Gone the red-nosed hours, our grotesque smiles drawn large and wide, when we rehearsed our cold routines of “Hey, are you ok?” and “Fine. I’ll be fine.” Remember the long seconds—three slow ones in all—before your face that took an hour to apply turned grave or the look you wore, sadder than any clown’s in the rain, that was my cue to knit my brow and continue fumbling with the three-sizes-too-small hammer you handed me so I could once more fix the swaybacked rocking horse we purchased to ward off an unspoken future in which we are continents apart, surrounded by our hungry new families as we slice and dismantle the same braised roast and lament how we could have let hope stray, how the story of our lives might have been different if it had contained, however lame, something we could have ridden into the sunset on.
54 The Paris-American
Tomás Q. Morín is the winner of the 2012 APR/Honickman First Book Prize for his collection A Larger Country. He is co-editor with Mari L’Esperance of the anthology,Coming Close: 40 Essays on Philip Levine. His poems have appeared in Slate, Threepenny Review, Boulevard, New England Review, and Narrative.