Sunday, November 28, 2010

House by the River

                                                         Lagunitas, California,
                                                         where the peacock cried

I have been circumspect rarely,
censorious never.
When the peacock in her yard
fans its tail and pleads,
or choruses, with the wind
rather than the two-legged one
ignoring wide-spread beauty,
I tell her my name was the same
then as now, rain still denting
the river behind her porch
and the other bird strutting out
with pride between its feathers
swelling, preening, letting
loose a cry like weeping.

Her child is grown now,
stained fingers long since dry
and brothered by his mother’s
lovers so youthful are they
nights after dolorous days
his mother walked by herself
to the pond, bathed there
and he stayed alone here
talking. First he was one,
then another. He sculpted
words one letter now, then,
but so few, and she drove
into town from the spring
and young again waited.

His brothering father escapes
the house like the Mexican jail
where he lingered so long.
You never know if enough
is gone to acknowledge plenty.
What are fulfillments here?
Where are the border guards?
Why did you fail to play it safe
once but enough for five years?
And you without any dinero.
The only justice, Napoleon’s
obsolete code never dated
where the pereferico fills
early. She arrives back here
to see knocking at the door

with a sound like all dreams
during storms
this lean man she is, in love,
condemned to love.
Her son is the one to answer.
Her son’s voice is full throated.
He has a room with an easel
and many canvases stretched.
No one, not even her, enters.
Why should his father?
"Only to sleep, my son,
my body is wasted with time
sanding the hours to a sheen
raw with need, need to live."

(28 October–28 November 2010)

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