John Gilgun
Cold Morning


And white snow on the smooth cedar planks of the deck.
My voice has been stolen but the snow is singing for me.
It is singing a song about the olla, the Mexican stew-pot,
a mournful song about a snow flake which fell into the pot
and melted with the chicken, ham, carrots and onions.
I can see the clay pot and the body is streaked with soot
but the red rim shines in the light of a Mexican morning.
Smoke goes up from the firewood, la leña, consuming
itself to good purpose under the pot, which is enormous,
like a pregnant belly or the wrecked bus I saw once lying
on its side halfway down a mountain near Montemorelos.
And three crows sitting in silence on the crushed, rusting
roof of the bus and each one a prophet but none able to speak
because a curse has been laid upon them by the local bruja.
No point in asking them, "Who has stolen my voice and
how can I get it back? And when, when will I sing again?"

 

 

 

Questions, Answers


What did your face look like
before it colonized my brain?

Like a frozen ice-white bed sheet
on a clothesline in Central Maine.

Where was your face
before your father was born?

On Islas de los Estados,
staring out at a stormy Cape Horn.

Where does your face go
each night when we fall asleep?

To Venus, the veiled planet,
where stepchildren gather to weep.