~ after Remedios Varo, “Tránsito en Espiral” (Spiral Transit); 1962
What does it mean when the sea spirals
through the town in your dreams? Its name
once used to mean swamp grass, or tree line,
or mountain ridge. The houses are wood-paneled
and old. In their attics are suitcases
filled with agate beads and parts of back-
strap looms, photographs of carnival queens.
Along cobbled roads, small goats and chickens
ruminate on history. What passes through them
is also holy— hard and packed as though
to outlast weather, burrowed in the soil
as though desirous of changing into gold.
And everyone who passes through here learns
to face all directions. Everyone leaves a small
part tethered to the center, the way an orphan’s
mouth turns in sleep toward the wind’s milky breath.