More Useless Travail
I’m tired of these northern latitudes,
the last leaves against the sky
like spots of blood the tarred lung of night
has coughed out on a handkerchief.
Just when it seems the good life is over,
something promising arrives, a letter
from my cousin down in Rio saying, “Come,
the coconuts fall into your hands,
a seamstress the color of cinnamon
is shimmying beside the brassy river.”
Finally, a bright shine inside me.
I throw caution to the wind,
throw out my thin consolations;
I throw out my brain (in the tropics
one thinks with one’s mouth);
I throw out my back hopping the train
that gradually fills with goats and guittarons.
In the shade of the edible shrubs
orphans are selling knobs
they pilfered from abandoned things.
And the seamstress is there, just as my cousin said,
but now I see the rust on her thimbles,
the needle holes in her thumbs.
She’s undone by a private sorrow
as insatiable as my own,
which love will never solve,
nor going away, nor going home.