The Town Square

the town square  

                   1

Trees embrace a hot wind

drifting up from the border. It smells

of dust and smashed fruit, the stench

of his breath — remembered

 

& how he rushed toward me

breaking the chair instead

with the strike of his hand. His gold

wedding ring sparked

by the light, a flash warning to leave.

 

2

Pigeons cluster on the pavement

pecking at scattered debris.

Their bird language sounding

like a prayer chant. The echo of his

lingered in that room with traces

of a sacrifice. Feathers, bones, a blood line

of hen or quail depending on

what his death god, his savior  of thieves

wanted that day.

 

Vine leaves shuddered along the ledge

as I stepped closer and unlatched

its window letting in some fresh air, & maybe then,

in a gust of pine laced with ocean salt,

the courage to leave.

 

3

The clock tower shows 10

minutes beyond the hour, Its iron

numerals like the rails of the fence

that would delay our entry, like the stern tongues

of guards who said,  just ten minutes, solo diez

minutos, to tell my daughter goodbye. First

a woman than a man — each voice

ticking with authority,  My child’s fingers

clenching mine, hinged together with luck

floating off.– frail as dandelion ash

across the fields. 

And we cried.

4.

Nothing here relents to silence ;

yet life spilling through the hands

of a stone saint — hushes all sound

to a halo of white noise, letting me focus

on the fountain, Its water turned ( by some sensation)

into the shimmer of a park slide

where a tiny girls arms are wing-spread

in the breeze. Somehow knowing

she is like the wild dove. My Paloma,

 

At night,

she can fly back to me in a dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 comments

  1. Wendy,

    Just back from a day away. This poem is a treat to come home to.

    The language, ever quiet, yet vibrant, has an energy that builds
    and grows until the quietness of the words reaches a crescendo.

    ” It smells

    of dust and smashed fruit, the stench

    of his breath”

    “Vine leaves shuddered along the ledge”

    “maybe then,

    in a gust of pine laced with ocean salt,

    the courage to leave.”

    “My child’s fingers

    clenching mine, hinged together with luck

    floating off.– frail as dandelion ash”

    “, Its water turned ( by some sensation)

    into a girl’s laugher, miles away

    where she shimmers on a park slide.”

    “At night, she can fly back to me

    in a dream.”

    I should have just copied the whole poem. It is a many faceted diamond
    that shimmers and burns. So beautifully done.

    Sarah

    Like

  2. Hi Sarah

    Your beautiful commentary brightens my day — thank you so, so much!! Was reading some of the heart-wrenching stories about Central American immigrants who are separated from their children at the southern border. One woman’s story caught my heart and eye. She was from Brazil, not the usual areas of exile, and talked of how she was fleeing domestic violence and had to be parted from her child at the port of entry, even though she followed the correct steps of asking for asylum. Her child was taken to a children’s shelter in Chicago , I believe. I imagine many of these women are connected to husbands, brothers or other family members entangled in drug smuggling/cartel activities, as the husband I imagined to be in this poem or ones who are threatened by gang members. In the case of the drug dealers, many worship Santa Muerte, the death god, the death saint, sometimes called ‘the savior of thieves and sacrifice birds to them in return for protection and success in their illegal operations.

    I also wanted to show in this poem that despite all the tragic angst of being ripped from one’s child, sometimes , for a moment and a moment only, our imagination intervenes and allows us to believe or imagine that our child is somewhere at play, not dealing with the turmoil and having a respite from all the anxiety thirsted upon them. Anyway, I am so glad you enjoyed the poem and again deeply appreciate your support and encouragement. It means the world to me!

    Take care
    my best to you and yours always,
    Wendy

    Like

  3. Dear Dee

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments toward this poem and empathy toward its subject. I , too, hope this terrible situation of parents being separated from their children is soon eliminated with more merciful and compassionate solutions.

    Again, thank you!
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

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