Two Poems by Oswaldo Vargas

Reading by the author

Berkeley Boy

This is your last gesture,
buying a scarf big enough to hide your work
on my neck.

I will wear it on the train home
and wonder if it will be a cocktail party conversation
years from now.

Your name may escape me,
but I can point out where you and I kicked up dust.

My abuelos became braceros
for moments like these.

Reading by the author

The Firewatch

If it means becoming a case study
in devotion gone wrong,

I’ll release footage
of him setting the first wildfire
to sweep through me.

I wouldn’t thank him until after.

After the time lapse runs,

when I can be seen from space again.

Oswaldo Vargas is a former farmworker and graduate from the University of California, Davis, where he studied history, human rights and Jewish studies. Prior publications include Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, The Louisville Review, and the upcoming Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century anthology. He lives in Sacramento, CA.

Image: “Two Lips” by Danniella Louise

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