At the Arcade I Paint Your Footprints

That summer we’d hop fences
and call them gates. You’d shark

pool, then we’d hunt deer
with all the quarters you tricked.

You smiled when they leapt
out of view. Passed me

that orange rifle, told me to aim
then close my eyes for ten years.

My antlered brother, mom
won’t sell the house so you can

have a landmark. Nostalgia
rends in absence, and yet

I remember June—that last
game of foosball, how we broke off

the little men and shook them
in our hands like tambourines

hoping they’d wake, then run.

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Steven Espada Dawson is a writer from East Los Angeles, now working out of Austin, Texas. The son of a Mexican immigrant, his poems appear/appear soon in The Adroit JournalNew Ohio ReviewThrushHobartThe PinchCopper Nickel, and the 2020 Best New Poets anthology.