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The Stranger on Burnside Ave.

In the shadows God is a stranger
who stops me to say that car
handles nicely. God glows like
birth, and it's cold like we need
the warmth of fire.

Brisk when he talks, his fingers are
pointing to that BMW and its German
engineering. I made that, he says. I
rode in one once, the steering
was so smooth it was like sweat

glistening. Ain't it such a sweet dusk?
Are you cold yet? Cigarette? God
loves to talk so I let him go on,
about the costs of fuel,
the creation of things. Those smoke stacks,

he says, burn wood & I hear him echo
loss for all the forests cut down to keep
this world warm, expansive in its
wickedness. We defend our darkness
by killing living things. In our exercise down

the hill to a bus stop
he takes a wrong turn. Walking with me,
God takes cloth to his forehead
& dabs at the warmth. He says,
trees are different.

It's okay to burn the dead ones.

Son of Mexican immigrants. Writer in The Missouri Review, Blackbird, Kenyon Review. Editor-in-chief @ THE BOILER. MFA from Sarah Lawrence.