None of this surprises you now,
does it? I’m not sure I can know that,
I responded to myself.
Or I think I did.
I should have.
A friend told me to embrace
my disorientation here, to attend
to it and dwell in that state, make it
a daily practice, like walking,
like drinking coffee.
I’ve walked through this city
countless times these last five months.
Months ago, I couldn’t
distinguish Bulnes from Pueyrredón,
prostitutes from neighbors on Córdoba.
I was learning to walk
through the nuances of this city.
Everything has changed:
I push into the subte; my wife
still can’t buy tampons, women
think protest will change
something; hope, that lingering
scent jasmine blooms on a warm day,
but it dissipates
and I forget it ever existed.
I was surprised
when my friend told me she had cancer.
I thought then
I’d never not think of her.
Tonight Buenos Aires is a protest
in response to a recent murder:
a 14-year-old girl, pregnant, killed
by her 16-year-old boyfriend and buried
with his parents’ help in their backyard.
NiUnaMenos, Not One Less.
I haven’t thought of my friend
for the last month.
Maybe I’ve misplaced her,
that once joined me on my walks.
Can we always dwell inside
an unsettled state?
Early on I thought of her
as I explored. The night
I wrote her, her partner
responded, My heart’s heavy.
I have to tell you Jackie died last Friday.
Death, I expected hers . . .
but I thought I’d see her again,
have an opportunity to tell her
about surprises here losing luster.
I don’t know which way
to turn, how to understand
this. I had a stone
I was going to give her, but
I threw it into a pond and watched
the undulations calm,
erase the evidence