I’ve conjured reports, memos, and analyses. I’ve stapled my kidneys to the business case for a box of business cards. The first in, the last out. Sent to the City Council for ceremonial slaughter: my manager jokes, did you eat potato chips today, they like their meat salted. I’ve been stuck in the same position for ten years, but I don’t mind if a few crumbs were left out of my capital plan. My parents, in their cabbage fields, never had it so good. Sometimes my projects dumped like the contents of an RV’s swollen tanks. Sometimes my plans torn up by the expediency of the mayor’s paybacks. Inevitably, Quetzalcoatl arrives as HR had prophesied. In a waxed Lexus with a Molon Labe sticker. Sandalwood-scented and powerwashed, swine on his chest. He swoops in, changes the fonts, the sweet rapture of find + replace. Suddenly my work transmuted as if on a miracle surgeon’s gurney. Checks are cut by accountants singing in unison. The savior ascends to another high-paying consultancy. Looking down from the ether of Google Maps into our office you’d find an ape troop wearing cowboy hats and ostrich boots gathered around their monolith. Except it reflects all the sunlight. Except it does absolutely nothing to elevate.
Rodney Gomez is a member of the Macondo Writers Workshop and served as the 2020-2021 McAllen, Texas Poet Laureate. His most recent collection is Arsenal with Praise Song (Orison Books, 2021), recipient of the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for best book of poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters and the Writers’ League of Texas Book Award.
His work appears in Poetry, New England Review, The Gettysburg Review, Denver Quarterly, Poetry Daily, and other journals. His current project is supported by an Academy of American Poets Poet Laureate Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Yale Mellon Arts & Practitioner Fellowship, and a De Groot Foundation grant.