Death in the Afternoon

Of the hundreds of deaths that inhabit me,
this one today bleeds the least.
It's the death that comes with the afternoons,
when the pale shadows grow longer,
and contours collapse
and the  mountains show themselves.

Then someone passes hawking
his merchandise under my window,
where I lean out to see
those streetlamps that are still unlit.

Shadows cross the ashes of the streets
without leaving tracks, men that pass
who do not come to me and do not stay
with their lonely soul on their backs.

The daylight escapes toward the west.
The night air comes in before time,
and a bitter, confused fear, almost
pain, hardly hope, reaches me.

Everything that tied me to life
becomes untied, becomes distance,
goes farther off, disappears at last,
and I'm a dead man,
      ...and no one raises me.

Copyright © 2005 by Ángel González and David Ignatow. From Roots and Wings: Poetry from Spain 1900-1975. Used with permission of White Pine Press.