by Paul Martínez Pompa

As July overwhelms the city
like a drunk lover & the shade

offers nothing but an illusion
of cool, a cluster of sun-whipped

men leans against brick that looks
more chewed up steak than wall.

They want work & wait here
in the hot for an offer. One man

wipes sweat from above
his lip while another sits still

as death. An oil-pissing truck
staggers by & stops-waves

of heat rise from the hood
as a faded-green sleeve hangs

out the window & summons
three men standing to the side.

After they leap onto the bed
like Olympic athletes, the truck

farts & pulls away to its next job.
A man left behind tilts his head up

as if ready for the sky to burst
& soil everything with water.

Last updated February 24, 2023