and in the shop…
If you could look back from the stars
you’d see that ancient, virgin plain
long before night’s electric sister
crowded the plateau of the sierra.
The past, old light, itself a kind of god,
in violet shadows flickering round the eyes
of the street-food seller, whose tin-pot lamp
glows to the transistor wail of vallenatos
in cramped quarters dark as newborn eyelids,
swaddled in blankets, asleep in a mother’s arms.
High above the ridge, they look down tonight
on breadshop, on flower and meat-market,
on abattoir and office, on La Candelaria
with its high balconies, geraniums,
stone courtyards and narrow, tired streets;
on the recicladores, whose ponies, tied up now,
will tomorrow hold up traffic
on the exit to the motorway.
The stars watch over dinner-time and chair,
quiet of farm, lazy river, paramo, sierra,
then slip away with morning; annulled, anaesthetized,
as blue light gives way to a red and purple haze,
to cock-crow and dogs squabbling in shanty puddles,
to silver and gold – what’s ours – their leavings.