She’s putting on her armor just before the sun up,
with a snap of latches, and the buzz of her
In the far field, stuttering unsteadiness,
in the near field, delicate slivers of glass.
He knows that he is not himself, someone else
inside authoritates the wine list
and whispers to the pillow:
a loquacious tropical parrot will emerge
and leave a chrysalis remainder.
Her connections with the casual are precise,
topics must adjoin to avoid a hint of truth—
the freshness of the café sweets; contraindications
of the weather; the flaws of other librarians.
Jemima compliments her armor, Is it new?
What, this old thing?
An observance, a liturgy, a list
with shells of smiles and secretions.
He tells himself that libraries are silent knowledge,
their airless glass and steel,
but unread pages written and forgotten
draw away his life to rows and indices.
The sorting shelves are sweeping him to a final moment
in an aisle between Philosophy and Rhetoric
when the parrot will escape,
leave one downy feather floating
before he fades to ghostliness,
left to haunt the residues of his life.
In stroboscopic flashes and shivers, clawing
at the sky, rending it,
helicopters and wind farms, telemetry
from the lost, close and closer still.
A child’s toy—a wooden train on a circular track,
a fence that has no wire, electrified,
razored stars hiding in
Julieta Venegas and Lenine miedo (Portuguese/Spanish). I didn’t just translate the lyrics. Really.