#27 Insomnia, Avenida de San Marcos by Barbara Rockman

Morning after morning, a foreign opera
wafts from her open windows into mine.
As I make coffee and turn off radio news,
from her apricot orchard into my lone apple tree,
the widow la dolorosa sings her zarzuela
and mourns.

While I scoop my Sunday paper,
Mrs. Lucero walks hunched under
bowed fruit to her son’s white Buick
and heads for mass.  Her mantilla
reminds me of crickets, of sewing machines
that stitch black lace to each backyard,the way wind rises as cicadas
shriek over our beds. Night after
night, Mrs. Lucero calls from sleep,
names her lost children and the city
where she was born. Through screens
she rasps, Ana, Miguel, Sierra Mojada. Night after night, the same
dog barks beyond my dark kitchen:
we’re insomniac in three languages.
Insects and birds overlap the gap between
night and day. Invisible newspapers thud front yards
while the dog yawns in Spanish, in English, in her own tongue.—

Barbara Rockman teaches poetry in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Recipient of two Pushcart Prize nominations, the New Mexico Discovery Award, The MacGuffin Poetry Prize,  and the Baskerville Publishers’ Award, she is the editor of Women Becoming Poems (Cinabar Press) and author of the collection, Sting and Nest (Sunstone Press), 2011.


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