My buddy and I split a joint in the car,
driving around Albuquerque, a trip to memory lane
we think we’re ready to take,
past the Middle Eastern grocery store
where we’d get takeout, past the university
where we spent too much time, through the Northeast Heights,
and back along Central. We’re two friends commiserating
on how wrecked our lives are back
in our hometowns, unexpectedly crashed out
like shopping carts in a dry arroyo. I make him wander
the antique mall where I bought furniture with my ex,
and he drives past the house he shared with his.

We’re sad the city’s landscaping hasn’t changed in over ten years
and the drivers still don’t mind cutting us off.
The high doesn’t last long enough to say
something hopeful or even strong enough to fool us
into believing this homecoming can give us
answers to questions we didn’t know how to ask.
I char my fingers and snuff out the joint.
Juan J. Morales is the son of an Ecuadorian mother and Puerto Rican father, which inspired much of the poems in his poetry collections, The Siren World and Friday and the Year That Followed. He is also the author of The Handyman's Guide to End Times (Forthcoming, University of New Press, 2018). His poems have also appeared in Copper Nickel, Poet Lore, Pank, Hayden's Ferry Review, Poetry Daily, Post Road,, Green Mountains Review, and Pleaides. He is a CantoMundo Fellow, the Editor of Pilgrimage Magazine, and the Chair of English and World Languages at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

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