Nightjars once called us later & later.
Now only crickets ring louder.
Lonely like a boy,
the Tejano smokes his last spliff, looks at the sun.
He goes back to—
the high of opening his NES, Christmas 1992.
Hunting ducks on a pixelated screen.
Hunting the stars, he watches
those worlds die—singing light,
even when the last house finds itself underwater,
even when a broken pixel—means a world was broken.
The Tejano will ask what the trees are saying,
what was the light trying to say, when will the flash of dying come.
Until at last, his back can rest against
a forest—relief against the vast.
Sebastián H. Páramo is the author of the forthcoming collection Portrait of Us Burning (Northwestern University Press/Curbstone Books, 2023). His work has recently appeared in the Academy of American Poets‘ Poem-A-Day, Split Lip, New England Review, Southern Indiana Review, Southeast Review, Bennington Review, and elsewhere. He is the founding editor of The Boiler, Poetry Editor for Deep Vellum, and is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Austin College in Sherman, Texas.