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EJ Montelongo Euphoria, oil on canvas, 30x40 inches - Elizabeth Jiménez Montelongo.jpg


felipe bruno de la rosa

I’m on the roof today

laying the sheathing,

sawing off the edges when it pours

over the rafters—I see the cord of my saw

caught at the edge, I unravel it.


From my beatbox, Don Cheto yells,

“¡En esta hora tenemos el borracho alegre!”


Two houses south, carne asada roars.

The grill master se empina una caguama;

the sweat of it races that of the grill master’s

to see who refreshes faster.

As they set the caguama down, they lay another

piece of carne on the grill, with as much care

as though setting a tree in its new home.


On the street beside the jacarandas, kids

dart and shout:

                        “¡Ah que no me puedes cachar!

                        ¡Wacha me!”

When the street rains jacaranda leaves,

the kids look up pretending

it snows on them.

Place your ears against the wind

and you can hear

wishes for real snow.


By the north wall that borders us from the 105,

the city sent someone to cover what once said,

“También de este lado florecen sueños.”

The man draped in white rocks

slowly like melting snow.

He covers the letters

that may have been left

by their own child’s hands.


In the house in front of mine

the doñas of the block sit around pan dulce

sipping cafecito, while they edit The Neighborhood Times:

so and so’s son was picked up last night,

so and so’s daughter came home at nine.


Behind me, a father

lines their family’s clothes

while their baby throws grass

in the air, watching it fall like confetti

on top of their bullterrier.


I notice the daymoon staring, contemplating my work,

another inspector making sure I do my job right.

Even from here I can see it write

on its check list the minute details I missed:

the nail off by an eighth of an inch.


I look back at my sheathing,

stare at the eighth of an inch,

and replace it with a new one.

Felipe De La Rosa is a first-generation graduate of California State University Long Beach, where he obtained his undergraduate degree in English, Creative Writing. He is currently working towards obtaining an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry, at San José State University. Felipe's work focuses on bilingualism as a form of empowerment. As a Chicano from South East Los Angeles, he writes about his experiences in labor work and community struggles from a perspective desiring change.

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