How the Stars Flicker Under Eyes (Cowboy Strode)

L.A. or Spain, the desert is the same
despite distance across the Atlantic Ocean.
When eyes of voyeurs penetrate, you tame
your tongue, lather your sun-torched legs with lotion,

and as sweat drips like tears into stone eyes,
you turn, stare back, and wink a knowing wink
at the film camera lens.  You realize
surmise is that, something people will drink

up without much reflection on the status
quo.  Here is a man, brown as swallowed dirt
in swollen lungs, and the lens, his afflatus
for swallowing down the sun-scorched land that hurts.

Here sweats the man who pushed friendship in gratis—
For it’s a man’s eyes, not words, that truth imparts.

Christopher Fried (b. 1985) is a native Virginian, a resident of Wiliamsburg, VA, and an alumnus of The College of William and Mary. He has had poetry published in journals such as The Lyric, The Road Not Taken, Blue Unicorn, and The Chaffin Journal. He had his first collection of poetry, All Aboard the Timesphere, published Summer 2013. His website is