Summer 1986 • Vol. VIII No. 3 Poetry |

Leaving Pico

We heard Pico from the kitchenwhere the living sat rollingcigarettes in their thick fingers,their bottles of Narragansettin front of them on the tablewhere they sat and said verde,green, like the backsof certain fish or the throatsof the small birds that suckat blossoms along the whitewashedfences in late spring:green and clay roads, they said,and the rolling wallsbrushed white with lime,and how many trunksin the hold of a ship,what dishes, what cloth, how manyrosaries and candles to the Virgin,and the prayers for the old deadthey left to sleep under the wet hills(the green hills, and at nightlight from the oil lampsand sometimes a guitar keeningand windmills that huddled whiteover the small fields of the dead)and all the time they werepreparing themselves behindtheir violet lips and heavy eyesto sleep in this different earthconsoled only by how the moonand tide must set themselvespulling off to other darknesswith as little notion of returning.

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Frank X. Gaspar is an American poet, novelist, and professor of Portuguese descent. His most recent novel is Stealing Fatima (Counterpoint press, December, 2009). His collection of poetry, Night of a Thousand Blossoms (Alice James Books, 2004) was one of twelve books honored as the "Best Poetry of 2004" by Library Journal. His most recent collection of poems is Late Rapturous, from Autumn House Press.

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