Spanish Lullaby

Small hour of the morning stop, platform
bathed in yellow light and fog, grating
of the wheels on the rail. Luggage bumping

blends with footsteps up the narrow
stairwell of the sleeper, I hear the car
attendant offer extra pillow, bottled water.

Click of luggage latches snapping open breaks
the silence, then a child’s startled wail as
the train begins to move. Discomfited sobbing

settles quickly, soothed by a woman’s gentle
humming. I tiptoe in sock-feet, press my palm
against the thin compartment wall, sit quietly

on the carpet to eavesdrop on this comfort.
As I move my lips to shape the unsung words,
a father’s voice lifts, whispering soft tenor:

este niño lindo / ya quiere dormir / háganle la cuna
de rosa y jazmín / háganle la cama

this lovely child / wants to sleep / make him a cradle
of rose and jasmine / make him a bed

Laura M Kaminski
12 07 2014
In response to/inspired by Luisa A. Igloria’s “Poem with a line from Ilya Kaminsky,” ending with lines from “Arrorró mi niño.”

Laura M Kaminski (Halima Ayuba) grew up in Nigeria, went to school in New Orleans, and currently lives in Missouri. She serves on the editorial teams of Praxis Magazine Online (Nigeria) and Right Hand Pointing (USA). Her most recent poetry collection is Anchorhold, and The Heretic’s Hymnal: 99 New and Selected Poems, is forthcoming from Babylon Books / Balkan Press in 2018. More about her poetry is available at arkofidentity.wordpress.com.

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