When Light Entered the Room


Taller de Poesía en el Día de los muertos, para Raúl Sánchez

The best reading of the day came
after everyone had left and gone home.
Parents were tired and children had school in the morning.
One young couple sat through the first set
as if they were intrigued. My friend stayed
as long as she could and read a Levertov poem
filled with marigolds and set in Viet Nam
during the time of the American war. She read
for the Vietnamese poet in Japan
undergoing radiation treatment.

When everyone left, Rául stepped onto the stage
and as I looked up at him in the room
empty but for sweepers, light filled the side of his face.
The ancestors had arrived. Light stormed the entrance.
Raúl found his voice feeling their presence
and he read that poem before his father entering
to hear his son read. Raúl’s voice soars
recalling the bracero of the 1940s enrolling his son
in a private school so he won’t have to go north
as a seasonal worker, leaving his family.

Everyone had left. We could feel them inch closer,
sitting before us, ignoring the table set for them,
and Raúl reading his fine poem of his father’s vision,
his father nodding, bien hecho, you couldn’t hear him,
you had to see it through the light in the room.

Jim Bodeen
29 October 2013


If I have it just so I can go to coffee,
but who’s to say?
                                    First, I must write
about Kierkegaard’s refusal.

Only from a layman, he said.
Only from a layman.

Wouldn’t you like to take communion?
the bishop asks.

Yes, but only from a layman.

He knows that’s against the law, Kierkegaard does.
He’s dying. He knows that too.
Not from his pastor brother.
Not from his pastor friend.

No. He will refuse it, Kierkegaard will,
saying no to anyone with a Lutheran state collar.

Jim Bodeen
29 October 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment