Neither of us see or hear the kittens
when we set the garbage pile at the farm on fire.
We come back to spines and white smoke—
that means a new Pope is coming—
but the mother cat is in his lap,
staring like a mother who saw my lover
spit on me
and I don’t deny it,
I even introduce him:
and how, like his namesake Noah,
he wants to live 950 years
if it means 950 years of meeting me
behind a cinder block
that the city forgot.
Oswaldo Vargas is a former farmworker and a 2021 Undocupoets Fellowship recipient. He has been anthologized in Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color and published in Narrative Magazine and Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-A-Day” (among other publications). He lives and dreams in Sacramento, California.