Encarnar: El Águila

Along roads named after kings
there were lines, lights, electrical fields,
abundant nowheres.

Men sat at tables,
heads buried
in their hands.

I kept my distance,

hunted memory when I forgot
who I was supposed to be,
who I was looking for.

My shadow glided above egrets,
silent in moonlit bays,
so too were the fish
beneath ice sheets

Help me remember his name.

At old mills ghosts worked cogs,
smoked and coughed beneath towers
of bleeding lights.

Am I still his son?

I bathed in rivers, dappled
by language people threw away,
hoping it would sink, become
their children’s treasure.

Empty swings in schoolyards

Bird-eyed, I learned to read desert billboards
insisting God was the route to Love.
No mountains remembered Aphrodite.

The music of the country
was radio, blues, gunmetal women
murmuring in bed.

Wildflowers wherever I went.
There was also blood.

I keep my distance, heeding
the ghost of my father.

Why hadn’t he looked for me
beyond the sea?

This land insisted
upon self-defense, beauty,
the flight of happiness.

There were always men in bed

This people insisted on other things
but I didn’t know
their words for immortality.

In fields horses fed
white apples
to moonlight.

Within mirrors, children paused
to gaze up at my shadow
hovering earth.

I am looking for my father.

I am lost.

No form
spares me.

Only birds respond.

I must think as both.

During the palest hours
I lifted my body close to the moon
for comfort
but it gave no warmth.

I am changed. My myth,


From a high limb in a yard
I saw a man studying a rope in his hands
and saying, I don’t know,
before he jumped.

Here I am, widowed
by my father’s happiness.

Has he returned to these cornfields
as a son? And now am I

the father?

I must feel as both.

Long ago I found his likeness once,
sculpted in stone. Wings of rock
crumbling around a boy
he held in his arms.

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