Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 4



When You Fell

Joey Mancinelli


Aunties pouring coffee
             beans into the cuts by your eye,
your brother pushing downstairs
             complex powder
in Riverside, cementing
             tear of michelada,
as crosses and pick-up lines
             a boy pretty
with copper piping necklaced
             in faux gold.

Dark roast clotting
             the depression
in your skin, everyday Starbucks
             Grande too expensive,
the cost of living
             Mexicans across rivers
discussed at lime green
             porcelain kitchen tables
and in air-conditioned boardrooms,
             Mexicans.
We don’t go to the doctor
             for anything other than grounds
would not have a left a scar
             21 years later,
putting blue contacts from China
             under your eyelids in America
you dye black hairs blonde
             to heal,
an ointment of pop
             5 Gum plastered by Nike sole
on $/ft2 installed mall floor,
             hydrating cucumber mask
in pesticide and wax,
             rose glasses, the mood,
in H&M fitting rooms
             if only I looked like you
America, plastic wrapped abundant,
             chicken thigh tanked fraternal bicep.

Washing machine spin cycles
             or helicopter shots
of apple cider vinegar
             sooth anxiety North,
waves of grain you vomit
             too heavy to stomach
infringed skylights,
             “Are you an American citizen?”
asked the voice in the desert.

             Sometimes,
new moon looks like bottom
             of a cup in Flint, MI
or crude oil bubbling bruised
             haloed eyes intercontinentally,
at interstate traffic light
             a person squeegees
for free and crystal
             clear the BMW windshield,
and could the wheel distinguish
             bodies from asphalt
to LA, all fluid and radiant.

Eating sandy Doritos
             under the umbrella shadow
so as not to darken,
             you were only 10
when invited into his home,
             you didn’t know
what rape was
             yet America.

Queerly, I quilted myself in sun
             to appear as you,
and plummeted the seam, also.



Joey Mancinelli: "I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1996. I studied History at UW-Madison. Aria Aber was my poetry instructor for two semesters. I am working on my first collection of poetry while I travel The West."




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