They caught them. They were sitting at a table in the kitchen. It was early. They had on bathrobes. They were drinking coffee and smiling. She had one of his cigarillos in her fingers. She had her legs tucked up under her in the chair. They saw them through the window. She thought of them stepping out of a bath And him wrapping cloth around her. He thought of her walking up in a small white building, He thought of stones settling into the ground. Then they were gone. Then they came in through the back. Her cat ran out. The house was near the road. She didn't like the cat going out. They stayed at the table. The others were out of breath. The man and the woman reached across the table. They were afraid, they smiled. The other poured themselves the last of the coffee. Burning their tongues. The man and the woman looked at them. They didn't say anything. The man and the woman moved closer to each other, The round table between them. The stove was still on and burned the empty pot. She started to get up. One of them shot her. She leaned over the table like a schoolgirl doing her lessons. She thought about being beside him, being asleep. They took her long gray socks Put them over the barrel of a rifle And shot him. He went back in his chair, holding himself. She told him hers didn't hurt much, Like in the fall when everything you touch Makes a spark. He thought about her getting up in the dark Wrapping a quilt around herself. And standing in the doorway. She asked the men if they shot them again Not to hurt their faces. One of them lit him one of his cigarettes. He thought what it would be like Being children together. He was dead before he finished it. She asked them could she take it out of his mouth. So it wouldn't burn his lips. She reached over and touched his hair. She thought about him walking through the dark singing. She died on the table like that, Smoke coming out of his mouth.
Homage to Jacques Prévert
after Nicanor Parra
The truth is we both attended
The same boys’ school.
Reformatory, whatever you want to call it.
You were a big dick—I know you don’t remember me,
Always stealing coins
From the collection for a Sunday matinee.
You used to confess you fucked the young maid
So much, she really had to lay you,
So you wouldn’t lie to the priest anymore.
Then you spent your nights playing with your meat,
Weeping, drinking mass wine,
Listening to the queer monk’s records of the blues.
You ate chicken legs in the alley
With orphans and criminals.
You, dressed fit to kill, your cape,
Your beret, your shorts, all one dark color.
And the ragged copy of Villon in your hip pocket
Like a handkerchief to cough in.
You weren’t like the other boys,
You were like me, but I was too young and ugly for you.
You could play the cello well,
But no one ever heard you,
Not even the whores in the dives
You stole off to on free weekends.
Oh, I can read to numbskulls in the Southwest,
Make a few bucks at a cockfight with a bald-headed poet,
Watch some hillbilly cornhole a mule,
Then go back to Chile, with plenty, on a boat running guns,
But you, you can dream forever,
And still not remember who I was.