I stopped pushing salvation
on inner city streets after his funeral.
Maples lining the road home took me to the kimono
and the baby, anniversary gifts from my son.
Ruben changed clothes as soon as we got home
from Sunday school: mariachi, prime ballerina.
It was difficult to keep a straight face in the middle
of an argument with a little cross-dresser playing
in front of you.
The beginning of autumn,
that’s when he started collecting the feathers.
Ruben, lifeless. We found the first one
outside a Mud Wrestling Bar & Grill.
It had the Lord’s Prayer written on the barbs.
Soon, they were coming from all over the world.
He loved to collect them.
Close, my son was very close to his boy.
Closer than the rope he used to hang himself.
He couldn’t take the impact of Ruben’s passing.
I need to look in the mirror, put on the kimono,
cover my arms with the red yellow leaves of the sash,
to hide my teeth marks.