Learning to ride, falling down, getting back on
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I am the face of a woman
who longs for the fragile,
shy kiss of your eye,
Venezuela blue, palm trees, oranges,
the sweetness of your breath
in a dark room, and your language.
I don’t speak your boy name, Domingo from the stars,
shoved into the pit of an outhouse,
dangling upside down, breathing the shit
and piss of your family
as your mother’s knife screamed
at you in Spanish. Sacrilege.
As a father, you swung me into the air
and commanded me to look, to envision,
to capture again and again the sheen
of the crow’s nocturnal wing,
but all I’ve ever found in crow feathers
is the shadowed breath of your flight
and the blackness of your hair.
Now all your colors elude me.
Pobre mi corazon.
Busco en mi pecho la calma, sueno de me alma
de mi corazon.* How I wish you were here.
Weren’t you the one who died
so far from home?
So many wounded phantoms.
I watched you step from the edge,
lured by jagged, painted dancers
shaking their palo de lluvia,
beating los bombos. Ah, how translucent your skin.
You were laughing, drunk on pisco, naked in their arms.
It’s nothing, you said. It’s only the wind,
and I believed you: your gossamer white blew
further and further away
until I could no longer hear the sound
of you in my mother.
God, how she’s hated you.
I thought I saw you in a man’s eyes yesterday
filled with South American oranges and waves of palm trees
splashing life all over me.
I had to look again and again.
I barely know him, and I’ve hardly any courage
since you went away,
but I wept beneath his magnificent sky.
If we could touch,
I’d promise to be content, again.
I long for crow feathers,
orange rinds, coffee,
for your face in my dreams.
Mingo, if you are in Hell,
Jesus is there, too,
* “La de los Humildes” by M. O. Matus and Armando Tejada Gomez.
Sophie Dominik Echeverria