Two hours between classes.
The short Metro ride home.
Coffee table, plates, glasses,
the TV flickering afternoon
news, sometimes a car bomb…
And in the kitchen the singular tune
of his voice, his jokes, recounting this
or that—plot of a novel, book
he’s put down, I bought for his
monthly fix (how he’d love
reading in the park what I took
half an hour to choose). Above
all, the sofa: digestion a nap,
my head nestled in his lap.
Hora del almuerzo
Dos horas entre clases.
El viaje breve en Metro a casa.
Mesa de salón, platos, vasos,
la tele luciendo noticias
de tarde, a veces un coche-bomba…
Y en la cocina el tono único
de su voz, sus chistes, contando esto
y aquello—argumento de novela, libro
que ha dejado, que le compré:
sus dosis mensual (cómo le encantaba
leer en el parque lo que tardé
madia hora en escoger). Sobre
todo, el sofá: la digestión una siesta,
mi cabeza recostada en su regazo
From Puerta del Sol. Copyright © 2005, Bilingual Press / Editorial Bilingüe, Arizona State University.
Near the entrance, a patch of tall grass.
Near the tall grass, long-stemmed plants;
each bending an ear-shaped cone
to the pond’s surface. If you looked closely,
you could make out silvery koi
swishing toward the clouded pond’s edge
where a boy tugs at his mother’s shirt for a quarter.
To buy fish feed. And watching that boy,
as he knelt down to let the koi kiss his palms,
I missed what it was to be so dumb
as those koi. I like to think they’re pure,
that that’s why even after the boy’s palms were empty,
after he had nothing else to give, they still kissed
his hands. Because who hasn’t done that—
loved so intently even after everything
has gone? Loved something that has washed
its hands of you? I like to think I’m different now,
that I’m enlightened somehow,
but who am I kidding? I know I’m like those koi,
still, with their popping mouths, that would kiss
those hands again if given the chance. So dumb.
From Scale. Copyright © 2017 by Nathan McClain. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Four Way Books, www.fourwaybooks.com.