Pulse: One Year Later. “What Pastry Would I Be,” by Antonio Lopez

Your beard chafes
my durazno stubble.

Over the glass shelves:
an infantry of Transformers toys stand vigil.

Below the toy overlords:
a careful caste of Yu-Gi-Oh decks,
Will and Grace, seasons one through eight, line the middle –
with the third’s disc popped in the DVD player.

To enter this room,
the floor carpet demands the one-time payment
of your dog-eared gray socks,
my 31-sized jeans, your sleeveless Tasmanian Devil t-shirt,
and your black sweatpants
with the extra blue pouch tied to the back.
You dancers and your weird clothes.

Laying together on the bunk,
I stroke the straight reeds of your hair,
eager to weed out the fainting highlights
that’ve grown since senior year, when
“You tried orange out.”

En tu defensa,
combinó con tu gold and black plaid shirt.
“My little bumblebee,” I’d tease.
“Oh shut up,” you’d say, pushing me with one hand,
while the other adjusts the green gauge earrings
you debated for forty minutes to buy at Hot Topic.

Your Alienware labtop hums its automatic cooling sequence,
the barrage of headset messages,
chime from the LAN party, crying
“Help us destroy the Protoss mothership.”

But you already have plans.
You hold a Jollibee wrapper in your hands,
greasy crumbs of Chickenjoy caught inside your chin.
I groom them away like
baboons atop slender branches,

those changillos in Nature documentaries
me and amá would binge-watch,
whispering to each other like indulging on a
scandalous secret,
“They act just like us.”

You promised that tomorrow,
we’d drive twenty three miles
in that gray Rav-4 your father swears,
“Nak, it’s a Jeepney.”

From these train trackside apartments
to San José’s Goldilocks Bakery,
to tell the bunned up woman with
the olive green blouse.
“Wait just a second,”

“Please cutie,” I tell you,
“get me some cassava cake
with the halo-halo on top?”

“But let’s see, to answer your question…
If you were a pastry, you’d be biko
sweet sticky brown.
Because I slowly like nibbling you… in chunks!”

I grab him by the lonjitas.
He gives off a squeal.
Inay knocks on the door.

Her hands against the wood patter
to a tune your father, no doubt
sitting on the living room couch,
hums in between asthma inhales.

“Dinner’s ready guys!”
“One more minute,” I cry,

As I await the answer of our bodies,
“O.K. Now me.”

Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Antonio Lopez received a double B.A. in Global Cultural Studies (Literature) and African-American studies from Duke University (Class of 2016). He’s an inaugural John Lewis Fellow, a recipient of Rudolph William Rosati Creative Writing Award, and a finalist for the 2017 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize. In 2017, he attended the Yale Writer’s Conference, the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, as well as awarded the Lucille Clifton Memorial Scholarship to attend the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. His nonfiction has been featured in TeenInk, The Chronicle, PEN/America and his poetry in After Happy Hour Review, Gramma Press, Somos en Escrito, Electica, Hispanecdotes, La Bloga, Acentos Review, Sinking City, What Rough Beast, By&By, Permafrost, Track//Four, and the American Journal of Poetry. He is currently pursuing a Master in Fine Arts (poetry) at Rutgers University-Newark.

June 12th marked the 1 year anniversary of the Orlando Massacre, an attack on the primarily Latinx LGBTQ+ people at the Pulse nightclub. Last year, Anomaly created a space for writers to mourn and express themselves following this tragic ordeal. Anomaly has invited LGBTQ+ Latinx writers to come share this space with us, again. Whether you’re mourning, remembering, celebrating survivance, or seeking a space to heal with your poems and prose.

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