9 El barril

by Esteban Rodríguez

There were nights when your father
drank alone in his truck—windows down,
radio on full blast. And when he was done
slurring corridos to the moon, he’d wander
to the yard, find one of the rusted barrels
he never used, and with night again
as his accomplice, start a fire, let it burn
brighter, brighter, while you, watching
from the corner of your window, imagined
it was the end of the world, that your father
was the last man, and because he knew nothing
would come after him, he grabbed whatever
was near, tossed it in—chunks of wood,
metal, brick, broken pieces of a playground set,
empty beer cans, trash stuffed in plastic bags.
And you wondered if he thought about
what he was throwing in, if he realized
all that he had hoarded over the years,
if he had ever considered cleaning it up,
or if he knew, every time he looked
at his unfinished projects in the yard,
that it wouldn’t matter, because one day
he’d be here, ready, like any God,
to make what he owned disappear.

Esteban Rodríguez is the author of the poetry collections Dusk & Dust, Crash Course, In Bloom, (Dis)placement, and The Valley. His poetry has appeared in Boulevard, Shenandoah, The Rumpus, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He is the Interviews Editor for the EcoTheo Review, an Assistant Poetry Editor for AGNI, and a regular reviews contributor for [PANK] and Heavy Feather Review. He lives in Austin, Texas.


Photography by: Joshua Newton