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IN SALVADOR, 1978-80
In memory of Monsignor Oscar Romero
Caminante, no hay camino
Se hace camino al andar.
Antonio MachadoSAN ONOFRE, CALIFORNIA
We have come far south.
Beyond here, the oldest women
shelling limas into black shawls.
Portillo scratching his name
on the walls, the slender ribbons
of piss, children patting the mud
. If we go on, we might stop
in the street in the very place
where someone disappeared
and the words Come with us! we might
hear them. If that happened, we would
lead our lives with our hands
tied together. That is why we feel
it is enough to listen
to the wind jostling lemons,
to dogs ticking across the terraces,
knowing that while birds and warmer weather
are forever moving north,
the cries of those who vanish
might take years to get here.
FOR CLARIBEL ALFGRIA
IN Deya when the mist
rises out of the rocks it comes
so close to her hands she could
tear it to pieces like bread.
She holds her drink and motions
with one hand to describe this:
what she would do with so many
baskets of bread.
Mi prieta, Asturias called her,
my dark little one. Neruda
used the word negrita, and it is
true: her eyes, her hair,
both violent, as black
as certain mornings have been
for the last fourteen years.
She wears a white cotton dress.
Tiny mirrors have been stitched
to it--when I look for myself
in her, I see the same face
over and over.
I have the fatty eyelids
of a Slavic factory girl,
thepale hair of mixed blood.
Although Jose Marti has said