Den of Quills
for Chi, after Neruda
I do not seem to be
lying on my crushed leaves, in my den of quills.
Why doesn’t the end end
when ending is required?
When the last night
turns to invisible light
I will be still and still
I tire of great feeling, Pablo, amigo—
Silencio and Soledad will never be mine
in this cacophony of influences.
Tracks of imposters leading astray,
The night, intending a deep dark,
betrayed again by pricking stars,
dull and hungry as the devouring autumn wind.
Stop! This cueca—pull up your vivid skirts and show
the gray significance, shorn of petals, metallic.
In things that pertain I still search for pertinence, that comfort.
Hot halogen lights only kindle ferocious ironies
and incandesce in flight your thousand sad arrows,
your white handkerchiefs.
Sweetheart, I’m shaking.
Words of tears fall from my mouth of eyes.
Published in Hawai'i Pacific Review, Volume 26, 2012. Republished by permission.