I watch her curve two times before
she straightens her bicycle to let me pass.
The cemetery road is narrow like her
shoulders, and I follow her spine’s
slow arc and fade and suddenly
want to turn, ask about her college friend
in Puebla, the climate at Palenque
all that high school Spanish had to offer
when I measured class time by Sofía,
imagining deep into Baja, her igneous skin on mine.
But today is the Day of the Dead.
I respect her vicious silence
while the ghost lover in me half-expected
more: tangents of painted faces,
a glimpse beyond this field
of granite markers, the dead words
anything more than the flesh
of the moment slipping into other lives.
This is the memory of association
boiling down to a hard stone, exoticized.
How else do I explain the loss
of Sofía’s voice? What I keep is my failure
to communicate to the dying
instant what I know now about most circles,
that they’re misshapen but remain
forever in motion. This woman
pedals through the concentric waves
of heat, ready to coast into the day’s
equator while I revisit these cycles.
Though I crave them, they add more stones
to the weight, a dark abscissa spanning
from those I no longer know to those I never did.
Chad Davidson's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in DoubleTake, Notre Dame Review, The Paris Review, Pequod, Seneca Review, and others. His first collection of poems, Consolation Miracle, will be published in fall 2003 with Southern Illinois University Press.
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