August 21, 1983

The day we learn, on the evening news,
how the senator returning from exile
in America is gunned down on the tarmac
just after exiting the plane, I wait

for a taxi to take me to the hospital.
A fever swells in my blood and a torch
burns through the high grass springing
up in my lungs, in my head. Doctors

tap and listen, then set me up
with drips and needles. There’s a TV
on the wall there too, and from time
to time nurses turn their heads:

the senator’s widow refuses to have
his mangled face and bloodied corpse
cleaned up— mottled red all over
the front of his white jacket. I dream

of fractured skulls and assassins perched
on every lamp post along the boulevard.
For three days I languish before I cough up
everything in my lungs and the haze

in my head starts to clear. Meantime,
talk grows about a coming revolution;
and the ailing dictator trapped in his
mansion, hooked up to dialysis machines.

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