Todo Cambia

Even as the haze clears
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxabove the cars
xxxxxxxparked below in their colored rows

xxxxI’ve lost my way.

The train a lonely whistle
xxxxxleaving its lost hour. A red
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxTexaco star
rusting its green circle
xxxxxxxxxxxxover a five-cent Coke machine;
a broken concrete platform
xxxxxwith bullet-splintered fence
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxone mile north
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxof Torrington, Wyoming.

xxxAll trains are one train; even the maids

say this. Even the maids will agree
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxthe trash is always different,
xxxxxxyet remnant of a language
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxno one quite destroys.

Last night at Los Milagros
xxxxxxxxthe American girl from Colombia
xxxgot up from her seat,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxsang Todo Cambia
xxxthe Latin song of changes,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxwith the band from Oaxaca—

and Hemingway drank again in Madrid;
xxxxxxxxxxxLorca fell silent;
xmy friend from Massachusetts
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxcould no longer eat.

xxWe lose it in a second; every maid

will tell you. Just wait for the arrival
xxxxxxof the owner’s stoned son. Just wait

for the Rio Grande and Southern
xxxxxxlumbering to Antonito,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxspewing its cloud of soot

over the burnt-out forests,
xxxxxxxxxxxxover the mines and steel mills
xxxxxxxwhere my family labors still.

The way is of cinders
xxxxxxand throttled Spanish
xxxxxxxxxxand the singing yellow bird
who will not leave its cage,
xxxxxxxxxxxxeven when the door is open.

xIt’s not hard to fly; the maids know this;

My niece, at forty, losing
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxher feet, her legs
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxand soon her hands
xxxxxxxxxto a sentence no one can control.

Always in the photographs, the train
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxmoves farther away;

Again and again, my mother
xxxxxxthrown from a horse,
xxxxxxxxxxxxthrown from a horse
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxinto a barbed-wire fence.

Often towels return from the laundry
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxsmelling of sewage.
xLast week in fog at the Albuquerque Zoo
xxxxxxxxxa leopard
xxxxxxxxxxxxxtook off a small child’s arm.

Just watch, Lupita likes to say
xxxxxxxxxxabove the scenic city
xxxxxxxxxxxxin her bright orange uniform,

xxxJust watch. It’s the mist—
xxxxxxxxxxxxxTonight it will all come back.