Audio: Read by the author.
And how far can we stretch the tilma?—
the prophylaxis of floods so far withstood,
standing under a rainbow-colored awning
in La Paz, and by that I mean Puebla
at the edge of earthquakes.
Maybe I was too bus-lagged to haggle over
the price of a portent, much less a cheap
souvenir. Maybe I don’t want to remember
what the children did to that iguana
or the pickpocket who got off scot-free
with my Ziploc bag of toilet paper brought
from home (because one never knows
what might happen).
Oh, and about the nocturnal balloon man,
that flagrant mute with eyes like cenotes
of souls… Consider the miracle:
a coco sighting with a dollop of lollipops,
funeral flowers yearning for someone,
straining for explanations in a maelstrom
of passing cars.
San Vendedor de Globos, patron of those
who walk the streets after dark, huckster
of ephemeral glories, flamboyant fraud,
inflator of aspirations rising like circus smoke…
burned onto buildings like ads or the shadows
of girls a few blocks away from Ground Zero,
estética headshots emblazoned on windows
and walls from Plato’s cave to the cathedral
where I thought I saw the severed wing
of an angel—a pigeon cavorting with angels
in the vault of heaven, clouding the eyes
of the saved.
David Rock has work appearing in the Carolina Quarterly, Poetry East, New American Writing, Sugar House Review, Atlanta Review, and elsewhere. An Idaho native, he teaches Spanish and international studies at Brigham Young University–Idaho in Rexburg.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.