Every day the light stays
a little longer, and night
does not fall so hard, so fast.
By the upstairs window where the blinds
are open, I can read till nearly suppertime:
I sought in my heart to give you
the ivory letters that say “siempre,”
“siempre,” “siempre:” garden of my agony—
But oh Federico, isn’t the exile’s heart
always a ferment of agony, always in search
of the elusive body or the heat of another clime?
Here, how quiet it is on our street: the men
who clip the grass and trim the hedges
will not return until winter is over,
and dogs do not roam the streets but howl
in the muffled recesses of living rooms
behind locked doors. Should I hear chimes
from bell towers, their music is mere
adornment to the day. Pigeons and gulls
inspect the trash bins in the alleyway.
Startled, they’ll flee— swath of their wings
the color of indeterminacy. Pine needles mark
sidewalks with their thin virgules, some strands
in puddles left after the last hard rain.
In response to Via Negativa: Night shift.