When the Vision Comes
You will be walking beneath an arch of sycamores,
the red kiosk, the five-dollar flowers,
a man kneeling on the sidewalk,
hands clasped in prayer—
it will all be right, you will understand the traffic,
the woman throwing soda cans, the crane
over a wrecked building, you will say,
and “Thank you,” speaking in tongues.
The metro will move underground as blood
in your veins,
you will read the pigeons’ neurotic bustle
like a page
in a familiar book. You will see car tracks in snow,
the dark striations marking out a map. You
will not know
the word for why, you will turn, you will answer:
The doors that are painted red now, are blue,
Looking for Hibiscus
my mother looks for hibiscus and the doorway
of her grandmother’s house, the courtyard
where she played, a little girl.
Falling cocoanuts may shatter a windshield;
but only six blocks to the ocean, so wearing
is just fine. The back door is gone,
if you stand in the alley, see its outline four feet
to the left. A Russian man
wants to sell us his car, an apartment
right here or down the block, wants to know
if we’re Jewish,
if we’re Catholic we can pray down the street,
fourteen years he’s been living in America,
he’s a citizen, we barely understand each other
or speak the same language, “You want apartment?
You buy apartment?” my brother echoes
the rest of the day.
We lose half our relatives, keep walking anyway,
it’s hot, we drink Corona, eat Cuban food,
stand in the cold tide, look for corral.
used to walk here by herself and in a park called
that had no flamingoes or benches to sit on, instead
a baseball diamond and palm trees at the perimeter.
It’s too hot for arguing, it will dehydrate you.
But wear a hat,
always wear a hat even in the shade.
Potentially, might be ...