Sometimes the surprise arrives with four boys dressed as crows
Parting winter streets and a light that levitates cement and palm
After the long rains cease and the air begins its pastel gestures.
You do not know their leather eyes or why their arm feathers
Shed menace over the ground. They appeared. Then disappeared.
You kept running. You did not know how long it would take to
Remember, decades later, you now in a place where water is a savior
No one sees, a god hoarding pleas like coins in his mouth.
It is also beautiful here. Each day the phone and the screen
Pour bad news into your chest, you an atomic star
Sharpened to brittle points — eyes, breasts, navel
Pinned with a helplessness growing with time.
Between the crows and the fire are years where breath shallows
To an echo because you never learned to swallow the country
Of bodies sealed in the back of a truck, sinking unseen
In the current, heaped on a shore and a desert and a city
Where your eyes close as you hurl your own nothing
Into the clouds. You had hoped to end with love
Because you are better at making it better and because
You are loved, and your love brings coffee, honey, bread —
A hiding place, these green mornings where all the prettiness binds
You in a spell of contentment. There is danger here, too.
Emma Trelles is the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the author of Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press), winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize.