Jamie Ross

Issue #
March 24, 2019

Todo Cambia

Even as the haze clears
                                   above the cars
             parked below in their colored rows

        I’ve lost my way.

The train a lonely whistle
        leaving its lost hour. A red
                                                   Texaco star
rusting its green circle
                        over a five-cent Coke machine;
a broken concrete platform
          with bullet-splintered fence
                                      one mile north
                           of Torrington, Wyoming.

      All trains are one train; even the maids

say this. Even the maids will agree
                           the trash is always different,
           yet remnant of a language
                                      no one quite destroys.

Last night at Los Milagros
               the American girl from Colombia
      got up from her seat,
                                      sang Todo Cambia
      the Latin song of changes,
                           with the band from Oaxaca—

and Hemingway drank again in Madrid;
                      Lorca fell silent;
   my friend from Massachusetts
                                         could no longer eat.

    We lose it in a second; every maid

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

for the Rio Grande and Southern
             lumbering to Antonito,
                               spewing its cloud of soot

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

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

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

My niece, at forty, losing
                                      her feet, her legs
                              and soon her hands
                   to a sentence no one can control.

Always in the photographs, the train
                                     moves farther away;

Again and again, my mother
            thrown from a horse,
                         thrown from a horse
                            into a barbed-wire fence.

Often towels return from the laundry
                                        smelling of sewage.
  Last week in fog at the Albuquerque Zoo
                  a leopard
                          took off a small child’s arm.

Just watch, Lupita likes to say
                    above the scenic city
                        in her bright orange uniform,

      Just watch. It’s the mist—
                        Tonight it will all come back.

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