The shoes run to the 805 but his toes point back to the 5.
The man with a beard coating his face
runs reverse. The kids speak Spanish first
then go to school to learn English never
looking back. The sun follows the moon or is
it reverse and the moon precedes the sun?
The ocean, so close, but we never touch it.
Afraid of the hunger that consumes so
we enter it backwards so our toes gifted
a head start if we need to run scared to the shore.
Police are backward chasing crooks instead
of preventing crimes. The accidents
on the road, the families
crossing. I’m never coming back to the South Bay –
he says, moving away and not looking back, but
I did. I left and returned to chase
the rats from the attic, the roaches
to their outdoor graves. Not backwards
but moving forward. The man
no longer runs but pains his walk,
down Palm Avenue. The weight
of it all reversed his path.
Gabriel Rubi is a SoCal native. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. He lived and died in video games, but now he is a father and husband afraid to die. He is a poet, translator and non-fiction writer. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poetry International, minor literature[s] and elsewhere. Gabriel Rubi is a 2017 Intro Journals Project Winner.