Nostalgias

Gaslights do their luring in the dark.
Orange auras, veiled faces,
widows’ silhouettes in serpentine
procession along the riverfront.

The glow carves nostalgia
from the foliage. Horse-drawn
carriages, women in corsets,
curvaceous dresses,
hair piled into crowns.
Prague? London?
Buenos Aires perhaps.

His absence and I sit on a bench
under yellow reflections broken by
swaying leaves, embracing and
sharing this immense grief,
saying goodbye again.

A gentle rain soaks us
in dreamy, romantic,
exquisitely brief fog.

Published, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, December 2020 issue.

Mirror Face

Holding closely this life-size portrait of yours,
I tell you face-to-face, nose-to-glass
about my two divergent selves.

This new me rises at dawn
bursting into a love song,
smiling at this chaotic world,
dancing like an unburdened star-lit sky.

Contemplating the river’s never-static
geometric art, its glassy quietness
rising up into baby ripples
from a little boat’s distant wake.

The other me visits less often since your dying,
arrives without knocking on my wide-open
door, finds me staring at the small hand
of a grandfather clock imperceptibly
dawdling away without me.

I flounder around for refuge as self-
created demons insist:
You are living on borrowed time.
What meaning does your life hold without him?

Through glass, you grieve this other me,
beg me to release you without forgetting,
to touch without ever again touching.

Poetica Review, Winter Issue, 2020.

This Empty Table

Our ten-foot dining table, once the hearth of
four generations sitting elbow-to-elbow
sharing favorite family dishes, eagerly talking
over each other like the rowdy doves of my Buenos Aires.

Adorable grandchildren scattering spinach across the floor
crying their way out of a high chairs’ captivity.
These little girls hungry to dress up in grandma’s
clothes, pose for yet another silly photograph.

Today, a bouquet of orange gerbera daisies and silence
are my sole company. I hardly hear my own breathing,
my bare feet pacing. I confess that laughing out loud
now gives me the briefest illusion of family.

To calm my anxious heart, I tell myself that children
grow up, flee our embrace. That family ties unknot.
All heartbreak comes and goes. Maybe next Sunday
I’ll remember to forget, to set only one plate at this empty table.

Front Porch Review, Volume 12, October 2020.

To Federico García Lorca

We, the ominous sky and I together,
joined in storms and tears, witness your murder
from afar. Your Spanish voice interrupted,
echoing still through the wide world of tongues.

One of the first in yet another civil war.
Generalissimo’s violent cleansing. Creativity,
sexuality purged. Power and masculinity enshrined.
Your ravaged body dumped in an unmarked ditch.

But in this portrait I hold dear, a young man’s
handsome figure, a soothing smile. How can a single frame
contain so much beauty? Medallion face, grey eyes,
severe brows, hair that begs to be played with.

I press a few of your baby grand’s keys and hear
the thunder of bullets. Out of your not-yet-found grave,
bloodied, you appear next to me, in this, your living
room, then quickly vanish out your window

flying to Sierra Nevada under a feverish red moon,
carrying olives in your pockets, humming ballads
that taste of honey, reciting odes to your friends
the matadors gored to death in the arena.

Yours, the quintessential voice of sensuality, love and
tragedy, lullabies and longings. The lyrical expression
of moons: pure, lewd and weeping. Duende: are you
still playing with the stars in that gipsy Granada sky of yours?

Poetica Review, Winter Issue, 2020.