Baldemar loves these busted-ass appliances
and the boxes they come in. He pines after them,
spends whole days cruising blocks and alleys
behind other blocks and alleys in search of these
discards. Cardboard is more than a sagging plea
bent against warped walls of grease-stained plywood
and cheap stud held tight with splintered twine--
much more to Baldemar’s woolen digits breaking
apart plastic casings, removing self-tapping screws
and small-gauge strands like harvested corn husk
or your sister’s pubic hair. What’s left after removing all
wired components is worth its toil in single wrinkled dollars
clasped each with two gloved hands dipped in rubber, blue.
JOSEPH RIOS was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley. His first book, Shadowboxing: Poems and Impersonations, is forthcoming. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from The Los Angeles Review, Huizache, New Border, Poets Responding to SB1070, and Héctor Tobar’s blog at the Los Angeles Times. He is a Macondo fellow and a VONA alumnus. He lives in Los Angeles.