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Sunday, May 14, 2006



by Bonnie Naradzay

Tonight we are lulled by the pretense of true understanding,
a fleeting vision of paradise. Blue tiles make the backdrop
for this pink dogwood evening where palladium windows
admit the cerulean sky. This divine weapon, poetry, unveils

the compelling tales we hear tonight: lovers who float
over Mayan monuments, the residue of dream in the pillow,
dawn, How to Paint the Sky. Fluent with wine but at sea
in a language I cannot penetrate, I seize on cognates.

We don’t hear much of their country – an Aztec rebellion
far to the south, the drug trade, village girls sold to pimps,
graft. There is another world: Nahuatl poetry, harvest gods,
the Mystery Region of Death, the quetzal’s emerald feathering.

We walk through a minefield that could explode anytime.

We understand why Mexican icons with tenured positions
don’t risk their lives to get in. Are they reading poetry
in English and does it matter? Palomas sounds better
than pigeons. We forge costly bridges for cultural beacons

Their visas all in order, they fly over the Rio Grande high
above the continuous vanloads of campesinos who wade
through water, eluding searchlights to die in the desert.

And if the average wage in Canada were $700 an hour,
wouldn’t we crawl through ditches, claw at riverbanks
to risk prison or getting shot by Mounties and militia?

Bonnie Naradzay, in the Stonecoast MFA program, has poems in numerous online publications.