Poema de Amor

Poema de Amor / Love Poem


Mitla is a sacred burial place in the Oaxaca Valley.
 The caves in the hills above the town
 are said to lead directly to an underworld from which demons and devils emerge at night and by means of which humans can communicate with the souls of the dead. Mitla, in fact, is often called the city of the dead.
 Legend has it that if you embrace  a certain magic column in the Palace at Mitla, 
the time left for you to live can be measured by the distance 
between your fingers as they reach round the pillar and almost touch.
 The pillar, they say, grows and shrinks according to the length of the seeker’s life. Petrus,  a rock, in Latin, evolves into piedra, 
a rock or stone in Spanish: upon this rock will I build my church.

1
We walk on tiptoe round the garden
peeling free the sunlight cloud by cloud

sometimes the heart is a sacrifice of feathers
bound with blood to an ornate altar

petrus
this rock cold against my chest
piedra
centuries of glyphs alive in your face

if our arms meet round these all too human columns
what will become of us?

2
beneath your skin the woad lies as blue as this evening sky
yellow light bends low in the fields below us
each darkened pool a warrior fallen beneath the scythe

the moon paints a delicate circle
its great round open eye stands out
above the rooftops
tonight it bears an eye lid carved from  cloud

our teeth are diadems of whiteness
we tie shadows to our heels
and dance in triumph through street and square

3
daylight bends itself round rock and turns into shadow
we flourish in blocks of fire

dreaming new selves from roots and branches
we clasp each resurrection with greedy fingers
will the moon rise again tonight and will we watch?

dark angel bodies with butterfly wings
our shadows have eloped together

we can see them sitting side by side
bumping knees at a table in the zócalo

4
church bells gild the barrio‘s rooftops
our fingers reach to the skies and hold back light
we draw shadow blinds to shut out the day
night fills us with stars and silhouettes

we dream ourselves together in a silent movie
closed flesh woven from cobwebs
lies open to a tongue-slash of madness

the neighbor’s dog wakes up on the azotea
he barks bright colors as dawn declares day
and windows and balconies welcome the sun

can anyone see the dew-fresh flowers
growing from our tangled limbs?

your fingers sew a padlock on my lips
“Listen to the crackle of the rising sun!”

4 thoughts on “Poema de Amor

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