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The Shape of Arizona

Aaron Banks


I spent the night trying to remember the shape

of James Harden’s chin, and I drew Arizona instead.

My throat sealed and I thought of drowning

in peanut butter again, and this time, I would be

more awake for all of it. This time, I would use

my fingers to cover my teeth and imagine

what it’s like to have an asthma attack

while singing happy birthday to my grandma.

She thinks I do no wrong. She thinks I would dance

for her because she turned eighty-six. I haven’t danced

for anyone since my wedding. I love my wife

more than my grandma, and this is the first time

for such a thought. If my mother heard this,

she would feel more like my mother than ever.

She would say why do you hate my mommy.

She would say she is the reason you can say such a thing.

I bet my mother is crying on behalf of her mother.

I bet my grandma would only want some sugar and a squeeze.

Aaron Banks was born and lives, with his wife and two daughters, in Rochester, NY. He is a Candidate at The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and an educator at a local Rochester high school.

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