Of Impotence, Considered As Exile
Sunday, and the park. A week's work done,
We sprawl. I hearken for any footsteps from
Beyond the Tropic of Carrion, where
Almost too long ago to care
I left, but all I hear are the breezes of
Your breathing bearing along some sort of hum.
By now you understand the stare with which
My shifting eyes fix on your civic building
Across the way, its classic marbles.
Such would be a hive of horrors
Back in that heat, where even its clean rhythms
Would warp like laminate, in a steam of stinks.
We speak: my words slur if I pronounce too fast;
Yours ring clear, accented without accent.
My tongue, is a jungle thicket
Aclamor with simian imprecations,
Meant for interrupting, not outlasting.
You? You say it is the word which matters.
Often that must do. In truth I will scarcely
Ever understand these uplands where
What would have been effrontery
Is frankness; openhanded ease
Plunges me in the vertigo of a careless
Climber suddenly face to face with air.
And yet, I would not leave. This is my country,
If not my state. A specialist, I function
Well, though I am paid better.
Following the changes of weather,
I learn the seasons, holidays, and customs;
Do the planting when it must be done.
Late August, and the park is a bland plain,
So restful. Can the absence of old pain
Be pleasure? Other refugees
Can keep the deepening intrigues;
I have my son to watch, as he plays the games
Of this, the land where he will live, a native.