Pole and Plate
By Carlos Pintado
Behind the pole and plate
There’s a book I will not read.
A life I will not live.
A body I will not touch.
I tell you about the hands
scratching the skin of walls.
A constant rasp.
Behind the pole and plate,
opens a window,
takes a breath,
sets up the alarm,
takes a shower,
checks the weather,
reads a newspaper.
Do you feel the moving hand, I asked.
A white bird with no language,
the wind through the wind chimes.
What a habit of light lingers, I asked.
Pole and Plate,
The house whittled down to a wall, did you see it?
The flame burning deep in a mirror, did you feel it?
The headless torso with a rose where the heart is, did you touch it?
How I wanted you to know these things.
If not the pole, the plate. If not the plate, the pole:
How I wanted to repeat it for you:
Pole and plate, pole and plate, pole and plate…
like a monologue of silence against silence.
Carlos Pintado is a Cuban–American writer, playwright and award-winning poet. He received the 2014 Paz Prize for Poetry for his book Nine Coins awarded by the National Poetry Series and the Sant Jordi’s International Prize for Poetry. Author of 10 books. He also contributed to the book The Exile Experience, coordinated by music producer Emilio Estefan. His poems and short-stories have been published on The New York Times (selected by Natasha Trethewey), World Literature Today, The American Poetry Review among others.