I make change in the depths of my purse,
Where little is found—crumbs and supermarket receipts,
Histories no anthropologist would catalogue
No university will buy these papers
To preserve with a careful note:
She bought pasta on Tuesday.
I wonder where the point tips,
Where driving a tractor is probable cause
For Colombian jungle-trained bullets,
Why I out-lived a father kept alive on deleted footage.
I am braiding my hair
With bits of wire
Saved from the street
By my love,
Because You never know,
While I coat my nails
In vegetable oil,
The gel oozing into
A saucepan by the stove.
I am beneath my desk,
Or shining my shoes
On the living room carpet,
The confidence to claim
So many aches
Last just a peach fuzz second,
They breathe musky rosemary
To cover the sweat.
I am falling asleep
At lunch and wondering
How I’ve woken up
So far from home,
Drooling in a library
Quiet study room
I already graduated from.
I put my name
On a list to
Stand in line to
Get a number to
Schedule an appointment.
I had lines in my head
When I woke up first thing,
Something about Pinksy
And people I’d pray for
Though I don’t pray at all
But full light dissolved
Each word into the drool patch
On my pillow.
The glowing mundane of contentment.
The easy dinners and radio broadcasts,
Furniture shopping and
Reading on the couch.
Making up stories about the neighbors
Whose windows face ours.
as they are
you might find a sheep
from time to time,
a sheep lost in her wool,
a head the herder missed
now obscured by brambles.
The herder misses this muddied cloud of wire,
a sheep that begged for sheering
but got caught in one bush after another,
nothing cleared. Now, burrs and
mats and thistles hide all periphery.
We huddle beneath the bus stop covers,
Our leaky plastic canopy saviors, we squint
Into traffic to read route displays,
The derby drivers racing to Reggaeton and Bon Jovi.
We wade through the river of Avienda Chacabuco
The cloudy water to our ankles, dark with grit
And city wood smoke, it refracts our boots,
Our green or blue laces, drifting Snickers wrappers,
Floating oil shines with the opalescence of stained glass
I’ve met people here
Who adore Neruda,
Mr. I like you when you are quiet
or perhaps more precisely
Mr. You please me when you keep quiet.
When they tell me this,
My jaw tightens
With the meeting of teeth,
My knees creak,
My wrists are pricked by
Needles and nails,
I respect these people less.
I am judgmental in my tastes
For both poetry and humans,
Being a poet doesn’t mean loving a rapist
Who writes about sentimental twilight.
after “Semejanza Inexacta,” intstallation art by Francisco Peró
Their legs apart or snug as one,
Shoulders angular in fat,
Fishing line a barely catching thing.
The sun into the underground
Cuts their edges, etches each form
As they twist slowly in the AC.
The borders cross their bodies
The streets of their arms
Ruta Cinco in yellow
I-95 in red
National Trunk Highway in black
All catching the morning glare,
Reflecting museum-goers’ mutters.