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Last Will

"she was unable to wrap the man that I am"

Published onSep 24, 2023
Last Will

Photo by Cottonbro Studio:

While hurrying home from work to read my favorite
poet’s last book, put together by his wife after the

cancer he so beautifully captured ensured his words
would never touch anyone again, I see a man selling

shoes in the parking lot of a gritty, inner-city strip
mall and wonder if his goods for sale are like the

taco vendors’—so delicious the city overlooks
the need for a permit due to his contribution to a

hungry community. I question how much money
he can possibly make since I’m sure most motorists

won’t stop because stolen Jordans don’t whet the
appetite like grilled carne asada. I thought I'd have

a different teaching job by now, but I still chide
and lecture teens and the numerous interviews

I’ve been a part of haven’t proven lucrative enough
to sell to a panel of college professors who scrutinize

my words and wear comfortable Rockports. I hope
Tony made it to Heaven and before he stood in

front of God, surrendered his soul and unflattering
similes, and God accepted him and didn’t pass him

over for another candidate simply due to perceived
lack of experience. When my wife does the laundry

and tells me I keep leaving candy wrappers in my
pants pockets, I don’t tell her that maybe they’re

in there purposely because I want her to always
remember me because she was able to unwrap

the man that I am, and that’s the best poetry
I can ever leave behind for her.

Daniel Romo is the author of Bum Knees and Grieving Sunsets (FlowerSong Press 2023), Moonlighting as an Avalanche (Tebot Bach 2021), Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press 2019), When Kerosene’s Involved (Mojave River Press 2014), and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press 2013). His writing and photography can be found in The Los Angeles Review, PANK, Yemassee, Hotel Amerika, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. He received an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, and he lives, teaches, and rides his bikes in Long Beach, CA. More at

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