a ghazal after Anthony Madrid
A man on the bus inspects the details of my coat,
I suspect he sees a ketchup stain from my lunch at Shake Shack.
We learn not to cry when our parents put our toys behind us.
Today is hide-and-seek anyways.
To wipe the stain from our face in the mirror.
To throw away the umbrella when our shoes are wet.
The glass window is dirty: the sand is showing.
I clean the dirty water by flushing it away and getting new water.
The girl in the bath is blowing bubbles. She lets them lean against her forearms.
She never sees my face when she smiles into the soapy water.
Be careful where you cry, Ruoji. You don’t want to stain the shirt.
You always have to leave the window at the stop.