The andador turístico
outside Hernán Cortés’s House
Dark settles early on streets and squares,
shop windows form islands of brightness.
Mankind’s future cradled in the empty life raft of a crib,
waiting for midnight.
An opening door snaps a sudden match of light.
Tick of the death watch beetle:
crumbling colonial house.
When I look at my watch,
the hands turn into lifeless arrows.
Numbers dance the periphery of their silent circle:
a henge of black stones falling in time with the stars.
The old sword sits outside its scabbard
and howls like a dog that scents a full moon.
Its long tusk dwells on forgotten blood:
dead flesh carved over rock and dry stone.
After the earthquake,
the museum’s walls
break at an angle.
A pendulum lowered from the roof
swings for a while, then settles heavily:
a dead weight at the end of a noose.
Gunpowder blunted the sword’s edge.
Bereft of sharpness,
it lies confined in its coffin of rusty dust.
Washed of all numbers,
anonymous clocks wear Hallowe’en masks
to disguise the blankness of their faces.
A mantilla of cloud
draws its black lace:
a blindfold over the moon.