Jeffrey Hecker was born in 1977 in Norfolk, VA, of quarter-hapa Japanese descent. A graduate of Old Dominion University, his debut book Rumble Seat is published by San Francisco Bay Press (www.sanfranciscobaypress.com). Recent work has appeared in altdaily.com, Cannonball City, The Waterhouse Review (where he was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize), the Los Angeles-based Zocalo Public Square, and forthcoming in London’s La Reata Review. He lives with his wife Robin in Olde Towne Portsmouth, Virginia, USA.
Generations of Robertos Paying Attention
for Lisa A. Flowers
Roberto II knows exactly how many people live in every hacienda on the coast.
Roberto III knows roughly how many haciendas stand unoccupied on the coast,
though none of the owners.
Roberto IV couldn’t locate the guest bathroom in his own hacienda.
Next week, Roberto III plans to drive Roberto IV to the countryside,
get lost on purpose.
Can Roberto IV handle family business if Roberto III and Roberto II
disappear, during the Rapture for instance? This is to be the test.
Can Roberto IV rely upon an outdated map of a snow pea farm,
willful local migrant workers pointing shovel blades from sky to dirt?
Unfortunately, we’ll never know. Roberto IV and Roberto III
visit Roberto II’s hacienda.
The Boricua Popular Army visits seconds later,
gun stocks pressed hard against right shoulders,
even if left-handed.
Roberto IV asks Roberto III
“Why do mercenaries move so jerky?”
before both are shot dead.
Roberto III had wanted to answer, “They’re appraising
our frescoes,” which would have sounded patronizing,
but understand Roberto III had asked Roberto II
the same question at a less strenuous time
and Roberto II had blown him off by cigar-puffing.
The sultriest senorita among all Roberto IV’s haciendas prefers to sleep
in Roberto II’s hacienda. She’s shot asleep. Her sister is, instantly sultrier,
shot awake. This is probably all for the best.
Large Moon Evaluation
Lieutenant Uhura was the first woman
to say no woman
completely loves you
until you’re completely wrong
and she completely backs you.
Lieutenant Uhura was the first mother
to tell another mother quit
talking like an infant to your husband
baby like boss
father like god
sister like mechanic
sitter like physician
Christmas tree salesman like rapist
Shaposhnikov like Rachmaninoff.
Lieutenant Uhura, asked about earth,
responded “you mean
I’m finally off?”
Bad Bathroom Breaks
Coyote Chipotle Eatery, 3 miles outside of Jeddito, Arizona
The sink to urinal threshold tile transitions Herringbone Mosaic to Basketweave Marquina
without warning. The most we can hope for is to shake dry our urethras and continue
to look forward. The pattern projects a step up where there is no step up. There is no step.
Many cowboys (I suspect cowgirls in the next room too) fall to the smooth sticky surface,
rebirth the word doosey. I follow with the word illusion. I wash but I do not dry my hands.
Rest Area, Curt Gowdy State Park, Cheyenne, Wyoming
It needs to be explained someday why a factory-produced sign appears only on the women’s
lavatory door reading: NO DWARVES BEFORE 6:30 P.M. I return to the jeep eager to tell
my wife, who didn’t have to pee, a timeless story. She cuts me off. In the parking lot,
she tells me I just missed a long line of tiny hookers, all checking wrist-watches,
brush past her kneecaps. I ask, “No shit?” She asks, “Didn’t I tell you I didn’t have to go?”
Homedale, Idaho, 4-H, Port-O-Let
This town’s name was chosen from a hat. Half the commode seat’s missing. Front to mid-back,
it could be a mouth-guard for a giant. No tank cover, the flapper gasps. To sit requires a butt-
compression counterproductive to the act required of its cheeks. I hear spades shoveling outside
these plastic walls, unsuccessful prior visitors digging holes. One says she’ll happily leave her
tool for me in case I’m irregular. I don’t know how to thank her. I’m regular.