Sunday, May 01, 2005

ANDEAN DANCE II (At the Manuela Saenz Museum)

Raven lurks in the
shadows of the patio
muttering over
framed letters from Bolivar
to his lover and others

from Manuela Saenz,
assembling chronology
from chaos: letters
that break off, continue on
the second floor landing and

are either missing
forever, or live only
in fog moving down
from the Pichincha. Warming
in the Andean sunlight,

the little saddle
Manuela used in battle
squats in a window,
its old leather blooming
with echoes of snow flowers.

Her evening bag,
latched with an enamel clasp
the blue of lapiz
lazuli, opens to show
a mirror: an oval eye

where Raven's own stares
back at him like a hat pin.
Raven wriggles loose
from a limping minuet,
arches his wings, tries to fly--

but he is the crown
of laurel and olive leaves
thrown by Manuela
that encircles the heart of
Simon, the Liberator.

Too much memory
beats in that melancholy
heart, and Raven breaks
free. Winging toward the future,
he disappears from the past.

Without the presence
of Raven, the patio
is still. Mildew creeps across
the love letters, swallowing
their words into history.

No comments: