The Citron Review

The Traveler

The mattress is in a corner, near the kitchen.
A thin mattress that you roll out every night
in your friend’s house, where you are staying for a while.

Déjame ver la cicatriz de tu espalda.
Let me see the scar on your back
, you say.

¿Qué te pasó?
What happened? 
you ask.
Me caí de un árbol, de pequeño.
I fell from a tree, when I was a child.

You tell me about your homeland today,
faraway. You talk about horses running down the hills.
Todo tiembla con los caballos.
Everything trembles with the horses
, you say.

You spread my arms with your arms.
We touch the horses, the solid flanks, the wet manes.

No te muevas ahora.
Don’t move now
, you say.

I see the carpet, its fibers, an empty bowl of cereal,
a spoon that has been in your mouth,
like my body has been in your mouth,
like my body the spoon is clean and stained,
used, blessed and condemned, exhausted.

There is a copy of The New Yorker,
a poem that you once read to me—
Oscar Wilde, …each man kills the thing he loves.

No puedo quedarme aquí.
I cannot stay here
, you say.

There are empty wine bottles on the floor
aligned with precision against the wall.
I count them, I count them one more time.