His throat opens like the crackle of a flame,
his thick mustache, a ribbon carrying the melody

as his mouth moves up and down. Above the din
of ATVs, tractors, and chivos, his voice wavers

through air like a swallow wheeling deeper
into that abyss. Somewhere constrained in those

tremulous notes, he finds his brother, the dead one,
asleep at his side, and the warm nights of childhood,

when the stars softened the horizon with their pale constancy.
He believed then in the possibility of grapes,

of vineyards crisscrossing the hillsides, the large gaps
his lungs held like a cool wind on one of those abandoned

evenings, the farm electric with silence. He believed 
in all the things we can’t see. The love between brothers,

the calls of bats, the taste of soil. And now his soul
lays buried beneath it all. The weight of years.

His brother killed. His body ground to fatigue. Age 
trapped in his eyes. Cigarette after cigarette. But some

lunch breaks, Bigotes sits by himself, in the corner 
of the converted barn, where sweltering heat rises

with the odor of fried meat, and sings 
to the audience not there, to the audience still listening. 

Jordan Escobar is a writer from Central California. He is the author of the chapbook Men With the Throats of Birds (CutBank Books). He is a 2023 winner of the St. Botolph Emerging Artist Award and a 2022 Djanikian Scholar in Poetry. He has been published in many journals including Prairie Schooner, The Common, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. He currently teaches at Emerson College and Babson College.