Cortés Burning the Aviaries – Monica Rico

Last night, I let in all the birds.
I told my grandmother to stay awhile.
I said, stop disguising yourself as wind.
You are not the only one who can fly.

I told my grandmother to stay awhile.
There is something in the wind. I recognize your voice.
You are not the only one who can fly.
Have you seen Montezuma’s aviaries—still green, full of breath?

There is something in the wind. I recognize your voice.
You talk to me all at once with your mouth full.
Have you seen Montezuma’s aviaries—still green, full of breath?
Cuídate, I thought you were blessing me.

You talk to me all at once with your mouth full.
I don’t believe in god but I do believe in Mexicans.
Cuídate, I thought you were blessing me.
I am sorry I picked all your red tulips.

I don’t believe in god but I do believe in Mexicans.
I said, stop disguising yourself as wind.
I am sorry I picked all your red tulips.
Last night, I let in all the birds.

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, JULY – William Matthews

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, JULY

Haze. Three student violists boarding
a bus. A clatter of jackhammers.
Granular light. A film of sweat for primer
and the heat for a coat of paint.
A man and a woman on a bench:
she tells him he must be psychic,
for how else could he sense, even before she knew,
that she’d need to call it off? A bicyclist
fumes by with a coach’s whistle clamped
hard between his teeth, shrilling like a teakettle
on the boil. I never meant, she says.
But I thought, he replies. Two cabs almost
collide; someone yells fuck in Farsi.
I’m sorry, she says. The comforts
of loneliness fall in like a bad platoon.
The sky blurs—there’s a storm coming
up or down. A lank cat slinks liquidly
around a corner. How familiar
it feels to feel strange, hollower
than a bassoon. A rill of chill air
in the leaves. A car alarm. Hail.

WILLIAM MATTHEWS

THIS IS HOW MEMORY WORKS – Patricia Hampl

You are stepping off a train.
A wet blank night, the smell of cinders.
A gust of steam from the engine swirls
around the hem of your topcoat, around
the hand holding the brown leather valise,
the hand that, a moment ago, slicked back
the hair and then put on the fedora
in front of the mirror with the beveled
edges in the cherrywood compartment.

The girl standing on the platform
in the Forties dress
has curled her hair, she has
nylon stockings – no, silk stockings still.
Her shoulders are touchingly military,
squared by those shoulder pads
and a sweet faith in the Allies.
She is waiting for you.
She can be wearing a hat, if you like.

You see her first.
that’s part of the beauty:
you get the pure, eager face,
the lyrical dress, the surprise.
You can have the steam,
the crowded depot, the camel’s-hair coat,
real leather and brass clasps on the suitcase;
you can make the lights glow with
strange significance, and the black cars
that pass you are historical yet ordinary.

The girl is yours,
the flowery dress, the walk
to the streetcar, a fried egg sandwich
and a joke about Mussolini.
You can have it all:
you’re in that world, the only way
you’ll ever be there now, hired
for your silent hammer, to nail pictures
to the walls of this mansion
made of thinnest air.