A Long Memory Which Begins in 1995

We called the man Habib, called the store Habib’s.
We’d spent all our quarters playing that X-Men game.
Out of money, exiled to the ballfields on the Rio de Flag.
Rio? A drainage ditch where the older kids jumped mountain bikes.
With your glasses I compressed the sun to a laser’s point.
The oil-slicked beetle smoked from the shell.
Smell like summer-ennui and loose pennies,
like waiting to hear the rattling engine of that old truck
shifting gears. My father on his way to shout, “Danny, let’s roll!”
I smell that truck. Decaying upholstery and dust. Dad
stopping at Habib’s to get a road Beck’s telling me to stop
calling him Habib. Later We’d learn his name was Saied.
The store was a Circle-K. Later we’d learn to steal
Hustlers and Cigarettes from Habib. You distract him, pay with loose change.
Later, he’d sell us cigs without checking for I.D. Then beer.
Later, after 9/11, Saied would have his windows broken,
and broken, and broken until he left town.

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About Me

A poet-chef living in Denver, Co. I use the orange Aquafresh toothpaste, off brand mouthwash, and those little floss picks.

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