She shoves her two valises to the bench.
You, sir, do you have a wife at home?
A man looks up and says: "yes, ma'am, I do."
She mumbles something to herself, sits down,
her eyes fixed on the ground. She's wearing golden
earrings, a black hat, an overcoat
that seems expensive. Anyone need someone
to cook for them? A drop of water stretching
down from the ceiling of the station threatens
to fall. Her neck is still bent low. She's svelte
and strong, the type my father would have called
distinguished.  I never watch soap operas,  
I'd rather read, and I don't talk that much
at all.
 The train arrives, and one by one
we make our way toward our seats, the wheels
of her valises dragging languidly
behind. She is the last to sit. The door
shuts. A ray of steel begins to rise

above the city, headed north. She stands
and glares at us with tears. I'm desperate here.
Ain't there nobody who needs a ho?
Then Lindbergh Center is announced. She leaves. 
And all of us go on our different ways.     

Pedro grew up in Guatemala, surrounded by a very literary family -- he clearly remembers his grandfather reciting verses of Quevedo by heart. Pedro chose a different path, and became a mathematician. He now teaches mathematics at Salem State University, in Massachusetts. But recently, poetry came back to pull him in. It all started with palindromes, and soon enough he found myself writing sonnets (in Spanish, first, then in English). This is one of his first attempts at liberating himself from form.

This poem is inspired by a striking woman I saw in Atlanta. Whether she had recently lost her home or begun experiencing mental illness is unclear to me, but I believe that whatever it was, it had to have happened very recently.



Copyright 2009