Shane Eaves

Autumn Begins in Pico Rivera, California

The geese betray me.
The moon is huddled in tree limbs
and across the city I hear the bounce
of norteña music, palms slapping tortillas,
truck tries flogging roads.
The ditch on vine is growing.
Pumpkins grimace all over town.
We can never know the leaves
that are falling, the feeling of water evaporating
their bodies. It is cold, and still the moon
is tossing in its sheets. The hookers on church
street are bundled up. The geese and leaves
don’t know this is not the countryside—
the liquidambars rattle,
the streetlights puff damp air.
The overpasses and buildings are tired.
Everything is silent in devotion
Everything is ready for loss.

In Decent Hours

1:00
The mall parking lot is an impervious
graveyard of paint—reflective femurs
ordered in some odd ritual
uninterpretable without Bob,
Jasmine, Chris, Sophia and the whole
team of Abercrombie and Fitch models.
A security guard shambles across
dead space, his moon face rising
out of his cell phone. The tired
sky of day dozes out of view while nearby,
behind the rusted cargo container in the
corner of the lot, kids kiss and sing
praises to the sloppy lumens that hide
the who and the where.

2:00
Cars are asleep along every street.
Their bludgeoned metal faces shine
in the moon’s silence. A family drives
somewhere, passing each car
with the sound of a damp match
being struck again and again—
each car a weak flicker
of motion with the same blur
that led Einstein to relativity.

3:00
Outside of Donut Masters
the night is saturated with sweetness.
The lights speak to you in lovers’ tones,
falling so completely away you are sure
not even Frost could outwalk them. You watch
a moth carousel in a globe of luminescence.
There is no sound, no body, but the trees
are still awake, swaying with the sober confidence
of chlorophyll. How lucky to be so moved
and so unabashed.

4:00
There is no happiness like mine,
I have been eating pulparindo,
sopes, cheeseburgers and everything
else that is demonized. I want to exorcise
the specter of wasted hours.
          I skim my skiff of happiness
                       across the black oblivion of night.

Late April

Death steals everything except our stories
                              —Jim Harrison

And so we lay on the kitchen floor in late April, sweaty,
recount mistakes, scraped palms, and a plate of hummus we ate,
years ago by the ocean,
struggle to locate ourselves
in the seasons, late spring or early summer,
and who can say for certain anyway?
Disregard the claims of meteorologists and clerics.
Spring has nothing to do with the equator,
everything to do with birds, jasmine, and hummus
with a stripe of paprika bifurcating the garbanzo bean mush,
arterially red, happy as a god for praise,
and so we lay on the floor and talk,
not into the night,
not candle lit,
but plainly, as roots to leaves
and tell each other stories,
clothe ourselves in immortality.

Author Portrait

Shane Eaves received his M.F.A. in poetry from California State University, Long Beach, where he served as the poetry editor for Riprap. He has been nominated for a Pushcart prize and is a two time recipient of the William T. Shadden Memorial Award in poetry. His work can be found in The American Mustard Collective, Rust + Moth, Stonecoast Review, Miramar and elsewhere.