A blue pail left floating
washes up on the pitted rocky shore,
wedges between boulders dark as
prehistory, a place the utterance goes it alone.
He says, “That’s how strong my love is.”
The utterance overlooks the ocean on two sides
circles the town square
where kids play cricket in the sand, explores
the ruins of an immigration station and prison
blown up in 1963,
the year he was born.
Switchgrass molding to human shapes.
Sitting in the morning sun
She says, “Is there a solution in the passageway?”
Eyes and ears making women of all of us?
“In songs to remember”
she writes a city and ipso facto
it is and can never be.
He writes a city singing
and birds begin feeding
on scraps of paper.
Xochiqueztal Candelaria, raised in San Juan Bautista, California, holds degrees from UC Berkeley and New York University and is a tenured faculty member at San Francisco City College. Her work has appeared in The Nation, New England Review, Gulf Coast, Seneca Review and other magazines. In 2009, Ms. Candelaria received an individual literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her book 1973 is forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press.