Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Possible City - Joel Toledo

For Doc Ed, who stayed

Of all the things we had found
in that twilight we never did catch
until the last day, homebound,
we'd all remember
this one: the glint of a beer can
washed up on the shore.

All of us welcomed its arrival;
it swaggered its way towards us
from beyond the horizon
whose day-glow and contours
we had all memorized.
It was just there--eyeing us
in the disappearing sun's playful ember,
like the god of mischief himself.
Brewed by the sea
and now cradled by the foam
but empty,
past the islets of rocks
and the careless tip-toeing.

We had hoped it was still unopened,
that some good-spirited genie was inside,
keeping the key to this twilight place,
this unmapped island of Bacchus,
this possible city drunk from too much sea.
Our wishes would have been as unanimous
as the wicked grin brimming on our faces.

We lined up on the seawall much, much later,
the last drops of once-bottled sentiments
now spilt on each other's tongues.
There was nothing else but the whispering waves
and the imagined tink of a beer can
occasionally hitting the rocks:
now filled, now half-filled,
now empty.

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