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.
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.
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.
Nothing here relents to silence ;
but 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 a girl’s laugher, miles away
where she shimmers on a park slide. Her bare arms
wing-spread in joy, somehow knowing
she is Paloma. At night, she can fly back to me
in a dream.