In my hometown it was like January,
like January in Oaxaca, in Fortin
de las Flores, like Fortin
in the mid-forties, like the 40s
in December, like December
on the river, a forest of willows
half in, half out of water,
like the river in the picture,
like the picture above your bureau,
like your bureau filled to over-flowing
with feathers every color of the spectrum,
feathers blown through vowels,
through curtains of bougainvilla, going
on forever, forever as it formerly was
in the lustre of a loved one's luggage,
baggage to carry lightly or solemnly
toss-off into the Bay of Fundy.
Thank you for your golden mice
who never wake me up at night,
for the pocket-size surveillance device,
for books which tell me nothing's unakin.
In January it was like my hometown
in the 1940s in the middle of December,
December a cool glass of water at noon
in the summer, a clinking of cowbells
to signal it's evening. I was seven,
four, eight, eleven, still unborn,
brother to my younger sister,
sister to my mother, father like a twin,
twins like vapor trails on clear nights
in October. You were my shadow
I dared not step into. You stood by
my shoulder, champion, angel, faithful
companion I dared not look in the eye.
What was it like for you?
Were you about to step into your skin,
like water poured from a pitcher,
like an ant into amber, like molten gold?
Was the gold like someone's fortune
or folly, folly a moving picture you'd get
into for a quarter, when a quarter meant
more than a dollar, a dollar a bit
of a future you'd be expected to furnish,
I'd be with you to finish
of a finish wearing the date of your birth,
polished with everyone's hopes,
polished with everyone's dreams,
lost in a basket of keepsakes.