this is not an admission of guilt
but there is the story where my parents steal branded glassware
from a fast casual fish house
returning enough times to smuggle a whole set
out past the dining families inside my mother’s purse
like the georgian wine and the polish vodka in the airplane boot
secure in her fake burberry bags
gucci is cheap she says
they go enough times that they might’ve just bought the glasses
elsewhere with the money spent on salmon and on swai
unsatisfied with fries
they ordered only the better fish
the diners watching
and stole the glasses
there is the story where my parents aren’t poor
that is the one they want you to believe.
♦ ♦ ♦
we have the same conversation every time we talk
eating warm fries
and thinking about death.
there’s a comfort in not quite licking
all the salt from your hands.
a little always gets into the creases of
your pointer and your thumb.
that’s how you know you’re eating good,
when it lingers on you like a ghost.
that’s how you know that in your heart
you never missed that funeral
because you couldn’t leave the city
and you were afraid,
a little high but not enough to enjoy it,
there’s nothing quite like remembering
the only reason you know a song
is because the man who introduced you
is a rapist now, but once a friend.
crying in the minivan, you can’t speak.
you’re liking a picture the same night he died
facing his brother down a barrel.
the salt cuts into your purlicue.
you lick it, but the sting, it stays.
you’re eating good, you tell yourself.
you never missed the funeral.
i hope you’re getting high enough.
i hope you’re doing alright.
Adrian Belmes is a reasonably depressed Jewish-Ukrainian poet and book artist residing currently in San Diego. He is editor in chief of Badlung Press and has been previously published in SOFT CARTEL, Philosophical Idiot, X-R-A-Y, and elsewhere. His chapbook, “this town and everyone in it”, is forthcoming from Ghost City Press. You can find him at adrianbelmes.com or @adrian_belmes.