THERE’S A DONUT SHOP IN OJAI, CALIFORNIA
that lets you smoke cigarettes. My brother
exhaled through the fingers of a bear
claw. Our last breakfast together is still
caught in my molars. I ash its memory
like Parliaments. He told me the joke
about Noah. How he always kept the skunks
in a lifeboat, dragging behind the Ark.
In that booth we were sacred, holding
our worst selves behind us—Brian
held a glazed ring above his head.
It glistened. That half-eaten halo.
Steven Espada Dawson is from East Los Angeles and lives in Austin. He is the son of a Mexican immigrant and a 2021 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenburg Fellow. His recent poems appear in The Adroit Journal, Best New Poets, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review Online, Split Lip Magazine, and Waxwing.