Like Asterisks

David Shook

The newspapers say you’re two packs a day


flavored like souvenir cigars: bus exhaust, fruit rot,
soured smoke of boiling hops, trash & burnt plastic


limited edition ash fall


You hide the city like
asterisks hide the us & is of
     fucks & shits


like string bikinis cover nipples


a sheet-draped mass on the highway shoulder


Smog flags like riptide warnings at the beach:
stay indoors if red, walk if orange, light sports if
yellow, if green fine


never green


earwax gray,
mucus marbled black

David Shook is a poet, translator, and essayist whose work appears in magazines like Ambit, PN Review, Poetry, and World Literature Today. Kilometer Zero, a poetry documentary he covertly filmed in Equatorial Guinea, is forthcoming in 2012, along with his translation of Mario Bellatin’s Shiki Nagaoka: A Nose for Fiction. He lives in Los Angeles, where he edits Molossus.