“At the outset. Like a fallen dragon” — Tomas Tranströmer What is this ghost I am in a moonlit kitchen?
What is this less I am?
When we sent ourselves through interstellar space we sent small hinges and brackets, right angles and machined dodecagons.
Why do we fail to imagine alien satellites? Revenants?
The whisper of us. A crow’s pile of dry bones.
In a moonlit kitchen. At a magnificent speed.
Why can’t we build a rocket ship so large as to resemble an entire planet of cavernous seas and a windshield of atmosphere, powered only by the mutual drag of a gravity well.
At a magnificent speed a thermonuclear heart the right distance away to provide all the trinkets of heat and light
If only we could build a little tin can terrarium and toss it from terra on rendezvous with Andromeda. We light
such small bonfires of cities.
Why strap ourselves to rockets when our Ark is already the world already the mountain ridge and desert’s edge already the last of our kind.
At a magnificent speed pulses of light across strands of glass carry our aspirations and bad newsin a moonlit kitchen.
Couldn’t we fall out of ourselves at a steady velocity through the core of the earth, pillars of magma, seas of molten stone?
In a moonlit kitchen
the thunder of intercontinental economy jet liners, hives of dying bees.
At a magnificent speed trinkets of heat and light will blot the sun and poison the potable water.
Why can’t we build a rocket ship an escape fantastical pod like a modernist coffin when we cast ourselves through interstellar space like stones into the ocean.
Leí Cien Años de Soledad en la casa de mi abuela 1
The door had a heavy latch with a keyhole facing the landing, edged in plump green begonias dashed with pink and red. Emerald hummingbirds hovered over open flowers as my grandmother watered her garden, descending the stairs.
Once, I remember her walking up the courtyard in a long black skirt, a white blouse. Slender as a broom. In one swift motion she closed her hands above her head and caught a bird midair. A blackbird with gold bands that flashed when she set it free. Snow fell slowly over a field when my grandmother died.
1 I read One Hundred Years of Solitude in my grandmother’s house
-- Pablo Otavalo is from Cuenca, Ecuador, and now lives and writes in Illinois. A recipient of the 2013 and 2014 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition prize, his work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, RHINO Poetry, Structo Magazine, No Tender Fences: An Anthology of Immigrant & First-Generation American Poetry, Matter, Levitate among other publications. We must find what we revere in each other.