What I Miss About Texas
is the drive to the outskirts; lightless stretches for miles
down rural roads. While gas-pedaling, the pavement
corresponds to a curve of what hurts. Don’t lose Texas. How do I
try again. There’s a memory. I trail off when—we play
lovers in the park after hours & we get caught.
The cop’s flashlight arrests us.
After she rides her Harley home, I’m clinging to her waist, wet
with sweat. We go for a run. Chasing the breeze, we lick
the salt off our backs & thirst for the forever of a pinky
swear. When we try again. The lights are off.
Heavy with summer, we won’t have these evenings forever.
When I tell her, yes, I’m thinking of the Moon too.
I can’t pillow-talk & promise her,
I’ll lasso it, Jimmy Stewart-style.
If only It’s a Wonderful Life was playing at the drive-in theater.
As if we could wait every winter for this to happen again.
As if we could hit the “playback” button,
do-it-all-over-again. We’ll try anyway.
Squinting in the dark, we could start walking into the lake—
No, let’s go to the beach with a past lover.
We’re nineteen. We’re at the community pool: kissing for the first time.
She asks, did that really happen in front of everyone?
Or let’s go back to summers standing bare in front of the A/C, full-blast.
Take my breath back to when nothing was wrong,
when I didn’t know the backroads, before cities
were cities, before I could fail at loving anything but dirt.
Sebastián H. Páramo is the author of the collection Portrait of Us Burning (Northwestern University Press/Curbstone Books, 2023). He received his MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of North Texas. His work has received fellowships and support from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, the Dobie Paisano Fellowship Program at UT-Austin, and CantoMundo. He is the founding editor of The Boiler, Poetry Editor for Deep Vellum, and a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. sebastianparamo.com