The chess tables start to crowd in with old men in pillbox hats
on that hour when the sky turns the color of dishwater.
They repeat heroisms of ancient wars here on tiles, the focus
in their eyes pronounce as wattle under their chins. No sooner
than when a thousand lanterns are plugged on, hanging
like diamonds from knobby branches, vertical eyes prepared to drop
before the tears, the drifters come through the green gaps of bush.
They weld into the concrete around the trees; lean on the spray
of a three-tiered fountain, lay their heads against the thighs
of a whore who will later give massages in street corners. Now,
the old are fixed in permanent stoops like black birds
eyeing toppled carcasses of wooden kings. In the bygone sun,
the trees wear patches of dark like second skin, thick wedges
of quiet, unmoving but for the vagrant wind looking for dead
leaves on low branches. They crackle like eggshells under shoes
or the slow fire of cigarettes. Stray starlight sieve irregular
through a tree ceiling, liver spots on the skin of earth,
signs of lost manners, leavings of light, dirty grays below the brows,
signs of sun gone without telling.
Zola Macarambon heads the CDO Writers Bloc and has just given birth to a baby boy.