Two poems by Juanita Rey

Fries Are Up

One day
you realize
that not one fucker
in this heathen town
loves you unconditionally

so you seek 
another option,
maybe herbal medicine
or working double shifts 
emptying frozen French fries
into vats of boiling oil –

you’d always seen yourself
being helped up 
from where you’d fallen
by this unconditional love
with your breasts all a-glitter
and lipstick burying your mouth
redder than your lover’s blood -

but, in reality,  
life’s all stretching exercises,
flakes of different shades of green
in vials
or a fast food kitchen
with a bunch of women just like you,
hair in nets,
faces cooked,
rushing to fill orders - 

one day,
you get what’s coming to you
or whatever it is 
that you had coming –

there’s a difference there,
a nuance,
but, as yet,
English, like unconditional love,
is my second language –

just don’t get me started on my first. 

The Ridiculous Boys

I'm staring at a photograph,
two guys from the barrio,
Diego and Jabes,
maybe taken ten years ago
but they’re both dead now.

I can barely hold this thing
without repeating over and over –
they’re dead as rocks, 
as door knobs, 
as the fence of the sugar mill
they lean against like the gangsters
they never were.

I think my sister took this picture,
two handsome boys,
as alive as they ever going to be –
so why is it, the longer I stare,
the more I see death?

Those two wise eyes, that glistening skin,
the confidence – mascara, I call it.  

Now those t-shirts are dust.
The levis, handed down.
And the sneakers…
stolen from their bodies 
for all I know.

Dumb-ass, selfish, inconsiderate, 
estupido, tonto…
their grins could just about eat
all the shit I toss at them.  

Juanita Rey is a Dominican poet who has been in this country five years. Her work has been published in Pennsylvania English, Opiate Journal, Petrichor Machine and Porter Gulch Review.

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