by Alejandro Escudé
A Bird, A Prowler
In the spaces that govern
you are often told to stop wandering.
The trees I mean, their very presence
and how it is always about filling in,
as a child might fill in a coloring page
of a dinosaur—the mighty are mighty
because they avoid asking
the essential questions, such as
where will this road take me?
And more, asking provokes a certain
sickness, the arc of a naked drone,
the burial of the chord, the night
and its imaginary plenitudes;
I recall waking once to the sound
of a scratching window, a bird? A prowler?
The sound was a language,
and I interpreted it to be the hand-claw
of a god. It said, beneath me
there’s a hollow that can only be filled
with time, and time is soul-less.
Time is mathematical milk suckled
from the teat of star-cows. It figures,
I remember thinking, and then
went about my open-mouthed snoring,
a religious mood shifting over me
like that of a pirate or a priest.
The shadow does not bear a likeness to my son
as we walk; hand in hand, time flowing over us
like the rapids ride we were on last weekend,
his smiling face now impenetrable as we head
to school. “What’s wrong?” I ask my son.
He grimaces and looks down at his shadow.
Sunlight will not console and it could be nothing,
as if nothing were a good thing—I’d rather there
be something and not this week’s long silence
and anger at age eight. What an age for a long
shadow to appear. I try to bring his childhood
online, but the buttons just aren’t working.
His mother sighs.We walk and hear the patter
of our shoes, shoes he can barely tie. I push him
to tie his shoes with strong hands, his ties too
loose to stay on for very long. I can’t penetrate
both of our shadows with any form of hope.
And only the sunlight promises definition.