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[Call our names the] by Alex Sniatkowski

Call our names the

black and white nudes sent

to the patron saint of hermits,

 

mutes, and Freudian

slips. Saint Droggo prays

for coffee house owners

 

and, all the same, the insane,

our fathers, but more importantly,

calls us the shepherds of smoking

 

at the gas pump and embracing

like the lovers beneath Berlin’s death

strip (c. November, 1981).

 

Call it lust for the shape of a shoe

stuck in the mud by people who

“like to get the ball rolling.”

 

Call it religion before we fall

asleep mumbling the litany of

couples flown to the desert

 

after twenty-eight years apart

and (wholesomely) holding hands

strolling down the strip.

 

Call them neither merchandise,

nor the elevator, and instead

the Queens of California

 

copulating with the Kings

of Mullets (the perfect haircut for

men with receding hairlines).

 

Call my father and lie about

where we are. Tell him you

called the cops after

 

I said he was the neon green

Nokia sign in the left field

where the Atlanta Braves played.

 

Call that stadium a place,

or a word to represent one.

and if that’s so, call this a

 

filling station and

call it a virgin country,

 

and I’ll name you sovereign

once you call it heaven

or Las Vegas.

Alex Sniatkowski, 27, lives in New Jersey. He works as a bartender and adjunct teacher. You can also read his work in The Southampton Review, Bodega Magazine, and Hobart Pulp.

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