Wedding Song

How should I describe you?

It was raining that day, a patch

of skin exposed to the wind, bones

clacking together with each

tremble, hair pressed and plastered

to my forehead, so cold,

milk white the sky, dark and hungry

the trees, hiss of cars against asphalt

and my wet footsteps splattering,

the only voice in Belgrano.

I didn’t cry.

No, I didn’t cry.

I was laughing, somehow,

your arms 

around me.

I left my window open last night

If I told you that now, you would laugh

And I’d show you my mosquito bites

And you’d say, “What can we do about that?”

 

I barely remember what summer

feels like. Do you?

I made a promise to write things down—

the old man giving out roses 

to street vendors, the young father 

buying his baby girl a sunflower 

from a kiosk, the bus drivers 

having a friendly conversation 

at a stoplight, the couple

eating an impressive cheese platter 

in a park, the border collie 

who sat with me in Recoleta, the man

watching his two young sons ride scooters

down the sidewalk, weaving

between pedestrians, occasionally stopping,

waiting for him to catch up, his

wide smile as he peered down at them,

eyes looking like dancing, like singing,

like step one, two, three, and cross,

and back one, two, three, and cross.

 

Amen for the leaves turning gold in the sun

Good God, what a beautiful day

Amen for the words rolling off of my tongue

Good God, what a beautiful day

Amen for the grass growing from cracks in the road

Good God, what a beautiful day

Amen for how quickly I seem to grow old

Good God, what a beautiful day

 

Palermo looks like a forest 

from the right angle. I clench 

both my fists and find a place 

in the garden, just now beginning

to grow damp with autumn. It

should have been me to signal the bus.

It should have been me feeding 

the kittens. It should have been me 

singing onstage at the peña. There are

so many things I haven’t yet done. Your hands

moving up my spine. It’s been so long

since someone touched me. It’s alright, I hear you saying,

look how the sky has changed. I look up.

It has.

It has, and I think it’s winter now, though I don’t know

enough to be able to tell. You hold open the car door for me,

laugh when I thank you. I want to kiss you. I want to kiss you,

your orange hair, your willowy limbs, the way you don’t look away.

I want you to hold me. I want you to remember me. I want to

forget some things and learn others, I want to shed fear like

an old skin, I hate it, I hate it, look now, the sky’s changing again,

the water’s lapping at the dock, I’m tossing my head back 

behind a low-hanging branch and finding leaves in my lap,

it’s nearly raining again, and I want to kiss you. You touch my cheek

with your lips. Un adios argentino, you say. I only look at you.

There’s an airplane below me, but it’s so far beneath

You’re smiling; I smile, not quite knowing why

I see both my eyes in the sheen of your teeth

Your veins look like highways from here in the sky

The plains are just shapes here, so orange and brown

I weep, nearly singing, and drink from my tears

My breath fogs the window; all I do is look down

It’s night, and I know that my neighbors will hear

 

Tengo que mejorarme. Tenés que mejorarte. Who will

wash you when you’re sick? Who will pull the covers

up to your chin? Who will drag open the persianas

in the morning? Who will clean up all your messes?

Who will walk with you when you’re old? When you’re

groaning? When your bones are all broke and brittle?

Who will laugh at your jokes? Who will listen 

to your stories? Who will tell you stories right back?

Who will ghost your neck with their fingers? Who will

dance with you? Who will write you poems? Who will compare

scars with you? They’re barely there now. All bumpy

and white. They look

 

like mine. I’ve stopped hiding my face from you

when I cry.

I’m not crying today. I won’t cry tomorrow.

The sky is pink over Puerto Madero. 

 

Who will hold your hand and jump

into the river?

 

And we ran, we ran, we ducked under the war

You looked like every person that I had ever met

We came back home too late and my father locked the door

Please say my name again, I said, I’ll die if you forget

 

The plane’s engine

whirs from inside me.

The absence

of wanting. 

A mother sleeping on my right.

Her daughter sleeping on hers.

I cannot close

my eyes.

Did I tell you 

that you were in my dream 

last night?

It was yellow. It was blue,

and I was a student. I looked

in the mirror.

I looked in the mirror.

I said, “No la conozco.”

But you did. And you did. Oh, you did.

 

Montserrat, the gleaming.

The whole world in excess. I took to one knee

and you grinned.

Good God, what a beautiful day.

Y si yo viviera acá para siempre

La mañana siempre parecería eterna

Y el sol intentaría de volver

Y los mosquitos saldría de mis piernas

Y dirías, “¿Qué podemos hacer?”

Buenos Aires, ¿qué podemos hacer?

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