The Stranger on Burnside Ave.
Sebastian H. Paramo
In the shadows God is a stranger
who stops me to say that car
handles nicely. God glows like 
birth, and it's cold like we need 
the warmth of fire.

Brisk when he talks, his fingers are 
pointing to that BMW and its German
engineering. I made that, he says. I 
rode in one once, the steering 
was so smooth it was like sweat 

glistening. Ain't it such a sweet dusk?
Are you cold yet? Cigarette? God 
loves to talk so I let him go on, 
about the costs of fuel, 
the creation of things. Those smoke stacks, 

he says, burn wood & I hear him echo
loss for all the forests cut down to keep
this world warm, expansive in its 
wickedness. We defend our darkness 
by killing living things. In our exercise down 

the hill to a bus stop 
he takes a wrong turn. Walking with me, 
God takes cloth to his forehead 
& dabs at the warmth. He says, 
trees are different. 

It's okay to burn the dead ones.
Sebastian H. Paramo's poems have appeared in upstreet, The North American Review, Tampa Review Online, The McNeese Review, and other fine publications. He holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and serves as the editor-in-chief for the online journal, The Boiler. He has received a grant from the Vermont Studio Center and currently teaches creative writing for community organizations in Dallas.


more by Sebastian H. Paramo:
Going South on I-35
Do Not Resuscitate