What We Stole from Octavio Paz by Ann Kestner

The gate is gone.  A gap in the old stones welcomes anyone,
though the weeds insist few ever come.  We are two strays
in second hand suits who sway in low scuffed heals.  Our shoulders
lean low from figurative suitcases full of bills and business
and all the worries we carry with us.

We drop our bad days beside the stump of what was
once a glorious tree and summon the hopeful
souls of the children we once were.  We are innocent
and indestructible again.  Our minds dance.  Our mouths
discuss the grace of architects.  Our fingers
tap the calculations of daffodils and daisies.

Too quickly, the afternoon becomes evening.  Too soon,
the sun starts leaving.  We chain our spirits back to
who we are supposed to be.  We head back to our cold car.
This garden closes at dark.

Hours later, we ride inside a ribbon of taillight Christmas lights
looking for a present to open, wanting a promising surprise.
Which box should we open?  We slide out of the main stream and
dip into acres of asphalt and metallic steel in all the modern day shades.

We opt for coffee in an overpriced library with blush seats and books
you cannot borrow, only buy.  Inside there is strange music,
fake sugar, and rows and rows of books that will be forgotten
by the end of next year.  With what they call mocha, we search for poetry.

We stumble across a foreign poet translated for us.
He explains that we must leave many gardens and each leaf and bud
will wither with our absence, but no matter the time or distance,
Eden is always inside us.  His words swim through our dizzy brains.

We put the book back on the shelf and leave,
knowing we have just stolen something we need.

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Ann Kestner is the founder and editor of Poetry Breakfast. For over 25 years, her work has periodically appeared in various publications. She spent most of her life living in Virginia at the edge of D.C. She currently resides in rural New Jersey where she is the Poet in Residence at the Poetry and Arts Barn of New Egypt, NJ. http://www.facebook.com/PoetryAndArtsBarn

Photo: Kae Sable


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