In the abandoned Jewish cemetery where graves are witnesses
to blue clouds – the shepherds stepped into prayers,
the sheep nibbled on grasses that bordered headstones.
What I wanted to say was not important,
what the dead wanted to show me was already before me.
The sea, itself, kept coming and going. I had forgotten
all the evils it came with. I had forgotten my own name.
The beekeepers and the blue walls that hold so many murals
spoke of wonder. I have suffered in the midst of beauty.
I wanted my voice to fill the ocean just like Simi’s grave
spoke to the sea in eternity. The bees took to air,
the green door in the village called out to me.
From the stone I sat on, in the middle of silence,
I saw fishermen wrestle the vastness of water.
Outside the church of San Bartolome, I rang the doorbell,
I walked between the pews. Within darkness a choir sang
the angelus. What purpose walks out of understanding?
The shepherds have stepped out of prayers. We are fated
to watch the beauty of strangers. And to you who walk
the old roads, the mirage of prophecy lives ahead
of you. Within it there is a dancehall, I want to know
what goes on there – is it heaven if I partake of wonder?
Is it hell if the music stops? Tell me, what returns at night?
ROMEO ORIOGUN is the author of Sacrament of Bodies (University of Nebraska) and three chapbooks. He lives in Ames, Iowa, where he is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Iowa State University.