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Talca: City of Thunder

Rosemary Sullivan
From:   Blue Panic. Black Moss Press, 1991, p 50


This could be my town,
the one I always wanted to leave.
The houses lean diffident and anxious
along mainstreet, suspects in a lineup.
The lights keep the street on a tight rein.

There's the drugstore,
the cheap shoestop,
the occulist a cut above the rest.
There's the store with pretensions to fashion.
Wild-haired mannequins parade in its eyes.

The jakarinds crowd the cupola
in the town square where old men play chess.
The cathedral points a bone at the sky.

I feel I've lived on your street
in these houses of no face;
windows shuttered, turned inward,
hearts a sealed garden
spreading lives, rooms, roots.

They are relentlessly female, make
family weather: Square sun
to a private courtyard,
filter rain to a need.

Outside your house there's the tree
you shimmied down naked
nights your mother stole your clothes.
She thought to keep you in.
But the point of a wall
is to climb it; of a street,
to take it. And a town like this?
To leave it.

Like family,
it always pulls you back.


Rosemary Sullivan's works copyright © to the author.


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