Affair with My Boss Who Is Dying from Cancer
We’ll pretend nothing happened.
We did not drive to Santa Cruz from Stanford
after your chemotherapy. We did not pay forty dollars
for beach towels or ninety dollars
for the navy bathing suit I wore.
That was not us drinking an entire bottle
of Johnny Black under the pier.
I did not trace the tumor
in your red, sore chest
beneath the sky
stretched out like a gray bed sheet.
We did not speak of the hopelessness of your prayers.
Your weakened body did not fumble
in the small waves.
When we drive back, you open your restaurant.
I work pouring beer. People come rest
their elbows on the wood rail, watch Mallorca
lose to Real Madrid. They drink cocktails we
made up as homages to Hemingway:
The Sea Change, Death in the Afternoon.
You pretend to feel young
I pretend to not know where Stanford is.
We circle each other and assume
what we have is fine—two people
meeting each other’s simple needs.
We pretend to be ethical, that time
does not matter. We do not need
to keep ourselves alive.
Sara Borjas is a Fresno poet and third-generation Chicana. She is a Community of Writers at Squaw Valley Workshop Fellow and a 2017 CantoMundo Fellow. She received the 2015 Blue Mesa Poetry Prize for her poem “Half-Elegy for My Mother’s Voice.” She digs space & time, memory, aromatics, tiny prints and oldiez. Her most recent poetry can be found in The Offbeat, Calamity, The Acentos Review and Luna Luna. She teaches poetry in the Creative Writing Department at UC Riverside.