I Smoke My Last Cigarette While Andrés Montoya Preaches to the Willow Tree

God is calling, he says, when the phone rings.
        Neither of us answer.
Half-drunk, beneath a willow, at exactly 2:45
        I take inventory:
the pitbull gnashing after the schoolchildren
        as they pass; the boy,
porch-ridden until 6pm, sharpening a stick;
        the man pushing
a shopping cart, black-lunged and bloated,
        through the intersection.
I tell him, I’m gonna give up.
        Andrés responds: God’s love is everlasting.
I tell him, This is my last one. I’m making myself sick.
        Jesus, were he alive today, would be a homeless dude, he says.
Slowly, every breath kills me: it’s like loose gravel
        in my chest. My body begging.
We die with only our bad habits, he whispers,
        and loving what kills us is the cruelest trick the Devil ever played.
I watch the last bits of sunlight being choked
        from the neon sky.
A breeze passing through the tree makes
        the underbellies
of the leaves iridescent. Everything in this city
        goes on to break us,
I say.
Andrés’ body begins to shake. Although I can’t
        see him, I know he is crying.
In the kingdom of this city I’ve begun to hate
        I say, Amen.

Ángel García is the author of Teeth Never Sleep, winner of the 2018 CantoMundo Poetry Prize, which will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in the Fall of 2018. His work has been published in the American Poetry Review, Miramar, McSweeney’s, Huizache, and The Good Men Project among others. He currently lives in the Midwest