The slant sword of Orion, three stars,
winter-bright, as though unsheathed
from distance and the dark;
the plumes of palms and eucalypts
against the indigo of night;
and to the south, the trembling white,
yellow and orange lights of Mexico.
And childhood touches me again,
when foreign meant exciting.
I love it, I almost say out loud –
wondering if I could leave it
for a man with a luminous spirit.
Which exile should I choose?
Oh child . . . our tragic flaws
choose for us, to which we are blind.
The lights on the mesa quiver,
and I nod: here is my fortune, chance,
the black plumage of palm trees
my wealth. So many lights!
Some garish and some dim;
some shine on misery, dead dreams
like a body shattered by a leap.
Time the Hunter and his bright Dog
move on. Only we stand still,
immigrants approaching port,
our precious, useless
past in our arms. Ludicrous,
the luggage we take,
the old photographs. The future
will be exile, a new world.
Along the shore of night,
like spirits of ancestors, the lights.