Numbness and worn-out boots: having walked
many miles through this hateful city,
a crown of light on Cerro San Cristobal,
no memory of hollowness, just the gin crust
on her eyes. In this hour, there are no stars.
Cars, street lamps, neon business hellos,
the murderous Estadio Nacional—they all outshine
the Southern Cross. She steps over a sleeping prostitute,
the poor thing’s mouth open like the flap
of a tent, curled in the slick trash of hydrophobic gutters.
Como se llegue a Santa Lucia?
The castle. Imagine the books of that ecclesiastical,
grand library before the militia took them. Imagine
the immaculate dresses, the stiff trousers, goblets forgotten.
It is here she parts pigeons in their congregation,
posits a small coin in the fountain.
She sees her reflection, and fails to fall in love.
July Westhale is a Pushcart-nominated poet, activist, and journalist. She has been awarded residencies from the Lambda Literary Foundation, Tomales Bay, Tin House and Bread Loaf. Her poetry has most recently been published in Adrienne, burntdistrict, Eleven Eleven, WordRiot, 580 Split, Quarterly West, and PRISM International. Her poetry can also be found in Women Write Resistance, and Contemporary Queer Poetry. She was recently nominated as a Best New Poet for 2012 and 2013, an AWP Intro Award, and a Creative Writing Fulbright. More at www.julywesthale.com