Waiting for Louis


Jason Hardung

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 123 in June, 2010.

in a borrowed car
on the corner of 14th. and Dayton.
Broken fleet of the moon
traipsing along side
shadows of cadavers
ducking behind fences
for those few moments
of weightlessness
and oncoming halogens
threatening police brutality.

My body a cage
my gut the weather
my inner dialogue praying
through a transistor radio
to witness the young Honduran boy
materialize from tall air
sooner than later.

A miracle, a drug deal
a change in the weather
the angel Gabriel
in his baggy jeans, pencil mustache
and Starter cap
opening the car door and climbing in.

His cheeks puffed 
his broken English
never learning my name
but calling me vato 
spitting black balloons
in my hand 
like blowfish giving birth.

At that moment
he was the best friend
a guy could ever have.
Someone I could count on
when my girl left me,
when I lost my home,
when my cat ran away.

I'd slide him the money
and pocket the tar.

Then I couldn't drop him 
down the avenue
fast enough-
he didn't like when I fixed 
in front of him.

He never forgot to smile
as his wings lifted him
into the gray matter.
I parked and 
shoved a million floating candles
down my blood river,
making wishes and waving.

While my world crumbled
I built his 
family back home
a palace under the sun

and I was happy
for them.