Fleeting Return

Poem By Jorge Enrique Adoum

The kitchen was still sprinkled
with flour and prayers.
The nurse tucked in the night ghost,
sought the course of the ships
that would bring back a vagrant.

They had rusted the images; they had aged
noise. In the big clay jars
the echo of known voices repeated
the counting of money. There was talk
of nearby adulteries, of investments.

'There is a day of light outside, of human
peace and apples. There are songs, and a living,
growing crowd forges ahead. To it belongs
the kingdom of the future. Those who are worthy
[now
will deserve that day and will be loved.
I know what time it is, my name, where I am going
full of pride and news.
And shall not be long among you.'

There was no sacrifice of wine or lamb.
The mother, between two stern tears,
talked to me for my sake, kindly pointed out
the good road, asked me if I had another hat.
Yet my brother, the one who used to make
thin flutes to accompany the sowers' song,
and still feared the harshness of heredity
and the gaze of the owl like a priest,
could not sleep.

'I want to deserve
the love you have witnessed. When is
happiness?'
'Tomorrow'.

And we ran, like two runaways,
to the hard shore where stars
came apart. Fishermen told us
of successive victories in nearby provinces.
And our feet got wet with a spray of dawn,
full of roots that were ours and the world's.

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