The cockroaches come, wriggling out
of drains, searching for sugar
in droplets of Malbec between the kitchen
and garden. We are on Neruda’s terrace
and he is reading his poems. Reading them into
the sky, the flora, the stone floor, and all of these
eternities we dream up. Half hidden
in the shade of drooping vines, the black dog sleeps.
Like omens, buses screech to hard halts,
like poems and dreams, I know, Neruda says,
of love that is slow and difficult. Isles where
we will wait awhile, but perhaps
we don’t know what we’re looking for.
His house has sixteen doors, I’ve counted.
Winds blow, doors slam,
reaching out past the shadows
of shadows. The dog scrambles behind me.
Noise and silence press against
the other like young lovers
still unable to name their fear.
In the aftermath
majesty palms and jasmine vines
blooming summer solstice
on the opposite hemisphere
as if to search into another world
we walk through the house
if all the doors
have already slammed shut.
Jessica Lakritz has an MFA in poetry from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. Her work has been published in Grist, Third Coast, Northwind, Pif Magazine, Cream City Review, and elsewhere. She is currently amidst a half-year writing sabbatical (from her serving job in Portland, Oregon), living in a small fishing village on the Pacific Coast of Mexico with her dog, Luna.