Today's poem is by Octavio Quintanilla

Love Poem with Exiles

The dogs are mute and wait for daybreak.
The ones who want to die scatter your eyelashes
with their spinal cords. There's no one here
to feed them, to take them for walks
along the busy streets where people are naked
because everything is hunger. Thirsty
because you have named everything.

November has stolen the devil's keys
but refuses to use them. It kicks down doors.
It sits on sofas and brushes its hair.
The dry leaves that fall from it are small hands
missing thumb and index finger.

Men in other countries feel its dampness,
and see its black stain on white smoke,
a shawl on the chickens scurrying to their coops.
The men have no land of their own
and the land of others remains quiet and pale
like a face adrift in a casket.

In this country, I haven't heard your voice
in two months. Your mother brings me soup
on Sundays and fills my forehead with kisses.
Once she brought me a handful of snow
and left her pulse in the embers to keep me warm.
"I'll survive," I said,
and when she said your name,
her tongue turned to foam.

Here the night dies of cirrhosis. In other countries
the dry cough that rises from the hearts of women
has no choice but to hang itself. Through holes
in the walls, the women watch their men fold
goodbyes like pieces of paper.
The men promise to return but even their names
will be erased by the drizzle falling on the pavement.

Their women will never sell their babies.
They will sing as the babies suck their thumbs.
Babies so small they could be carried in purses.

Copyright © 2009 Octavio Quintanilla All rights reserved
from The Bitter Oleander
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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