The Blue Mimes / Los mimos azules

4 de julio: costa verde

 We turn the corner
and I see her

doubled over the seaside
bench in taut, iridescent blue.

Every movement, slight: fingers
skim the ankle, head

angles up, shoulders
roll down. Her partner

approaches from
behind, teardrops half-painted

beneath his eyes. When
he walks he walks

stilted, a rhythm: green coast.
Green coast. Grey water.



4 de junio: la casa en san Miguel 

As a child I remember:
you kept a doll

in the annex window, staring
back into the main house to face

intruders, and in my mind
its yellow eyes fade.

Now I look out at twin
staircases as I sit

with you in my mother’s
childhood bedroom.

There’s no trash, so when
I hold your fingertips to clip
your nails I cup

the clippings too. We list
your brothers’ names, even
the ones who have died and

I find that if I prompt you
to say my name as part of a list,

you’re more likely
to remember it.



11 de junio

You’re eating on a day
when eating paralyzes you.

Out the window: wires
crossed, the stained

profile of a half-finished house.
Pigeons huddle on

a clothesline, sway
according to the wind.

The man who buys unwanted
items from houses is calling,

a meditation in
his voice.



13 de junio

Música llega desde
la calle. Trato de no
pensar en esas

calles, acostumbrándome
ya a la callada.



15 de junio

Stained lace curtains. An in-between
zone from kitchen to

garden. Today we count
together the walled-off trees. Today
the inset door is locked.


16 de junio

My challenge: always find
space to occupy. I sit

on the annex stairwell,
looking back through windows

like an aged doll. Last night
you said que sueñes con los

angelitos pero por
la mañana no me acuerdo
si aparecieron o no.



19 de junio

 It takes your fingers
so long to find the rim

of a coffee mug. They run
through a heap of clothes, rise

to the level of my face, spill,
cut, touch, stray. You fall

without warning. I think of
the boy in the market, dropping
his ball again and again

just to see who would
bring it back.



20 de junio

Memory is every side of you, the side
of your bed where light hits

when the door is left open
a crack, the way you expect

someone to be with you
when you wake and when

no one is there, it means
he must be waiting

for you on the beach of scattered stones
where he played as a child.

We sit on a bench.
Across Avenida de la Marina,

the green light of a pharmacy.
We count hotel windows.
Más tarde tocamos tus boleros.



26 de junio

 The privacy of your entrapment
is what terrifies me.

You search for your missing husband
beneath small objects, like a child

imagining that things and people can fit
where they can’t, that you could

find someone by tugging
on a stuck drawer or rearranging

the wedding silver, and desperation
lies in believing that anyone

can be lost anywhere, that you
could search the same

couch cushions for months, or years.



1 de julio

You don’t register
when I say I’m leaving.

Prométeme que no me vas
a olvidar – it’s an impossibility,
but you respond, nunca, nunca.



2 de julio

The taxi parks outside
at 4 a.m. but we turn
it away. We’re searching

for wedding rings, for things
we might have left in

wooden cavities littered
with bookworms.

As a child I remember a long ride
in the back seat the last time

I left Lima: distant hunched
airport, light receding.

We couldn’t fly out that day
and I had never been so long
from what I knew. I stared

out between driver and passenger
at musky yellowing lamps

and when we made it back to the house
through layers of coastal fog I eyed

my parents’ wedding portraits as if
they were an entrapment.



4 de julio: costa verde 

Slow as grey water the driver
inches forward, pumping

his brakes while I internalize
the rhythm of chalk
white waves

and then we turn the corner and
I see her

agachada sobre un banco
vestida de azul tirante, iridiscente.

Cada movimiento fino: dedos
tocando el tobillo, cabeza

hacia arriba, hombros
hacia la tierra. Se acerca

su compañero, lágrimas
mitad pintadas debajo

de los ojos. Cuando
camina, camina rígidamente,

un ritmo: costa verde.
Costa verde. Agua gris.

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