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Post Road Magazine #32

Handyman Imagines the Battle of Pueblo + Self Portrait of Handyman Sanding Floors

Juan Morales


Handyman Imagines the Battle of Pueblo

When everyone has turned to biting
each other, to emptying
every grocery store in town,
and to sieging out the end times,
we don't know why we didn't leave for the mountains
in our eyeshot.

Our feet got dirty enough in vacant lots
and beat up streets with
road cones coaxing us
how to leave this rest stop town.

The heat challenged our souls to keep it together,

hopeful for afternoon rains to nourish
gardens hidden in
Bessemer backyards. We used to feast
at east-side taquerias on one-way streets.
We used to bike through the avenues to wander

downtown, through alleys
graffiti fresh, finding our way
to where the river paralleled limestone barrens,
and levee murals
for local gods that once stretched into sunset.

We want the mill to spew yawns all night,
coal trains to whistle, crashes of train cars
loading again,
so we fortify and clear out
the dead ones,
to make this town home again.



Self Portrait of Handyman Sanding Floors

I disappear under respirator and goggles.
I'm a survivor in a wasteland
separated into dining room, living room,
bedroom one, and bedroom two.
Under my mask, I taste the dust
and blink it out of my eyes.
The sander is a few decades old and weighs
more than I do. It rumbles the floors
then glides, the spinning wheels chewing off the stains,
scratches, and gouges
saved over the last two generations
in the floor that will be swept and wiped
into the soft honey touch
of an aftermath that lies beneath.



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