Hatred of the Various Grays


I am grunting along the 60, returning

from Calvary Mortuary in East LA

where I walked into the wrong

services. My good friend’s mom

suddenly gone and me wandering halls

looking for the moon: Luna, last name Luna?

Finding my place I prayed the rosary, got lost

again on the way to the graveside.

Have you ever been in a funeral procession

on the freeway? It’s as chaotic as you’d think.

A sad line of confusion, stolid metal

husks whirring past, sweaty faces

ballooned against windows yelling

and pointing and no one is sure

what is going on

and just when you think you have it,

you pass a man standing on the roof

of his house with a red broom.

He lifts thin avocado branches

like he is changing a baby,

dragging his broom in a wide circle,

so wide you think for a moment

that he is sweeping the merciless

horizon just beyond

the roof’s edge. I’m afraid

this is not an upper-class poem—

there are people who have died

suddenly and without insurance

and men standing on roofs

and graffiti on every wall and work

missed without pay and hours

spent sweating in traffic

with a broken air conditioner

waiting to say I’m sorry, I’m so sorry

and knowing it’s not enough.

Shane Eaves received his MFA in poetry from California State University, Long Beach, where he served as the poetry editor for Riprap. He has been nominated for a Pushcart prize and is a two-time recipient of the William T. Shadden Memorial Award.
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