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by Kate Kingston

brings me a white robe, and we walk toward Mexico,
land of phantasmag¨®rica. He brings me cenote water
tasting of sacrificial virgins, their palms of spring green.
Neruda brings me eggplant. The sheen of its purple
skin cares about weather. He brings pasteles,
caf¨¦ negro, a pitcher of cream, a green orange, pan dulce.
He brings Chilean snow, its laughter like a child
on a swing. Neruda brings me a carpet. We explore magic,
a church steeple, the purple of arco iris, castle
towers. He explains flight, how to cross my ankles,
center myself so that rising feels like falling. Neruda
brings me a handful of sand fleas, clay jars crawling
with ticks. You mustn't learn to expect things,
he explains. He brings a half grapefruit, serrated,
ready for the tongue. It transforms my language. I speak
Portuguese, then a phrase of Italian. He brings
quiet pearls, the breasts of women, street signs, arrows
pointing north. Neruda brings me shadows scaling wall,
a bowl of pomegranates, bees mating in a Mason jar.
He brings a picnic basket, two bottles of wine,
watches me sip alone under a variegated palm.
His hand on the pen, he begins to laugh as if the sea
had said something funny. He brings me a car engine,
just for the sound of acceleration, the taste of exhaust
on my tongue. He brings a sparrow, a dead one,
in his outstretched palm. He reads from his Book
of Questions
. I listen to the weather of vowels cross his lips,
watch the tiny syllables of moisture lift from his brow.


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