It stood before the fickle drinking fountains, a refrigerated
truck that hauled red snapper and amberjack.
Now it held people and all the cold had vanished.
Metal shell sizzling to heat that hissed when they spit at it.
Twenty-three men and women up from Monterrey
who’d given a year’s wages for this waiting.
Not even the driver had keys. The walls were seamless
like the skin of a sardine and burnt their fingers when
they struggled to find a way out. The man who was
to come had been frightened off by a police car, patrolling
the roller bladers and licking hibiscus.
The man went to The Cut, into the twilight
of stamp-sized dance floors and barmaids wearing
leather holsters to carry greasy bottles of tequila.
It was good to wait until night to go back.
He would find a girl with lips of feathers.
He would find a girl with legs of a flamingo.
But he disappeared into his own withering and
the fetid bay breezes made the day go on and on
and the great heavy sun was whitening their cries.
There was a boy in the truck who put his mouth
to the sealed door, said it was air he was breathing
the flutter of a gull’s wings, but it was his pulse racing.
Outside there were people who would have helped.
The truck was speaking to the girl in orange bikini
as she lathered on coconut oil, untied her straps
and lay in the unraveling flames. What is it?
Once she looked up, but it was hard to hear over
Madonna singing in her voice of spoiled blue cheese.
Then bronzed hands lifted volleyballs, spanking them
over a net, and the bay water glazed into grayness
that brought in blue muscles of jellyfish.
The boy in the truck floated away from himself
dreaming of sheephead fish with tiny human teeth
trying to breathe out of the sea.
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