by Miranda Peery
Ray Gutiérrez stands at the corner of the plaza
selling beef jerky in front of the meanest car
I’ve ever seen.
A ’39 Chevy, dropped low and chrome-bright
the same blue as the
He says the proceeds go to kids in need
all over the world and smiles like a child when I reach into my pocket.
“God bless you” he says “red or green?
The red is local spicy, but the green is mild”
I can feel his approval as I take the red and
it grows when I mention
the car; he smoothes it absently while he talks about it
an old, easy knowledge in the touch.
Later, as I smoke on the wrought iron bench
in the plaza where iron once planted a graveyard,
he walks up and asks where I come from, my name
if there’s work there, the weather, when he should visit.
He tells me he picks chiles to freeze so he can send them to his boy who
works in Iowa, where chiles won’t grow.
“The wrong kind of soil” he tells me and
he seems like he knows.
His bright gleaming car reflects the crowds as they
shop in the storefronts surrounding the square
walking over the dead unaware,
while his blinding smile outshines them all.
Miranda Peery received her B.A. in English Literature from Mansfield University and is currently an M.A. candidate at Brandeis University. Her work has previously been published in Rag Queen Periodical and RavensPerch Magazine. She lives and writes in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire with her husband and their three children.