POETRY – 4 Poems by Nathan Xavier Osorio

Physical Education

Urine trickles into his sagging gym sock but it isn’t his own.

The stretched threads swell and warmth drips down his Achilles,

Washing away salt from jumping jacks and lunges.

Musk, the flavor of damp shirts mists the space under low ceilings.

A honey comb bar of light breaks through a grated window

And their eyes lock like two beasts, I want this to end too

But it doesn’t and it seeps into his toes, filing the gentle space underneath nail.

Years later at a bar bathroom he’ll miss the pube-peppered bowl

And wonder if the other is dead or at a family party’s

Porta Potty, dick in hand, thinking of him too.

But now it’s leaking out of the silver rings of his Chuck Taylors

Thin creeks running along tile embankments, converging before draining away.

San Paletero

The sun wakes slow above the South’s low hills.
His hands snap pink in the first light’s cruel chill.

He lifts the freezers lid like god’s fallboard
And packs the popsicles in rows of four:

Apple, sweet rice pudding, and tamarind.
Ice falls into his palms, a gentle end.

His blood churns warm beneath deltas cut deep
And when light crawls into this junk food keep

It licks his heel until he knows it’s time.
A coin of Ol’ Saint Christopher, sublime,

Burdened with Christ, it hangs from the windshield
From where it eyes the road, an oily field

That’s bound for cracked playgrounds in front of schools,
Where they’ll exchange allowances, a poor man’s jewels,

For the reason behind end-of-day sprints:
Sticky fingers, nachos and chocolate mints.

Ecuadorian Cats on Stoop

Spotted enamel dominoes clatter
Beneath spell casting hands
Conjuring celestial change.
Cousins: Fifteen, fifteen and thirteen,
Smoke abuela’s sumatra.
Ribbons crawl into the equinox
Pushing stars, shopping carts against cracked black tops.

How to Disneyland

Balloon expectations exponentially.
Revisit formative childhood films.
Think little people and poisoned produce.
Lions, loved, now trampled by wildebeests.

Sweat, buying ten dollar banana-sized churros.
Sweat, trampling children (much like the wildebeests)
Sweat, near fellow sweaters looking for a place to sit and sweat.
But do not sweat magic.

Photograph faux cobble and swans,
Miniature Neuschwansteins (think of the little people)
And disenfranchised youth roasting in greenhouse gas suits.

At night, sprawl out amongst your brethren.
Coat the ground, a human tapestry of
Sweet juice and animal parts.
Breathe, but not until the last furious star goes missing.

Nathan Xavier Osorio is a first year MFA candidate for poetry at Columbia University.

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