You feel that way, in the shadows, as people walk by. A dream and a dream again upon the sounds of the city. Your body unwinds, strands of clear gelatin that move toward a large pipe grating and your face is creamy brown like a camel hair coat. On an upper floor a couple talks in a window and then the blinds fall. The rain stops and everything is slick and reflective with blue and red and yellow. How does one arrive you wonder. Are they dropped from the sky or do the plants bleed them out onto the ground? When does it start and when is it over? A sad man clutches a briefcase, a group of school girls bump heads in white knee socks, two men and a dog, a downcast shuffling policeman, an old woman who mumbles, all of them damp and unhurried; cutouts upon the sidewalk, blurred angles, drowning in the dark reliefs, without faces, keeping unknown lives to themselves.
“You should come to the hotel restaurant tonight.” These words play in your mind and you know you won’t go, because it’s too easy, nothing there of interest, only a pack of hypocritical Christians and a girl with a hot ember in her vagina. “Saturday night is for suckers, the real action is on Sunday morning.” Her whispers are still worming around in your ear and it’s probably true, but you don’t want to find out. Sex and marriage beneath a cross is sickening since you’re an atheist and you can’t stand the idea of watching in slow motion as your child is eaten by life. You pull a small bottle of tequila out of your coat pocket and sip and breathe and think. One feeling after the other, falling and rising: dead is forever, the women, flying in the Atlantic clouds, wishing for a bed, everything flowing over the ice bridge until the horses with frozen nostrils are upon you and one of them carries you to the little hospital where the doctor waits.
Finally a gift arrives. A woman appears in a brightly lit doorway across the street. She’s maybe twenty-five, with honey colored hair, dressed in a red crop top, mini-dress, flip-flops, and a purse. There is a gentleness about her and she seems related to some forest animal, with searching, round eyes. Her thoughts are not for you, yet you can hear them: shoes tomorrow, Felipe is gone, money in the box, bus to the coast, fight for what you need, why did I choose him, so tired of going without, Papa is dead, can go home, won’t go home, acid in the barrel, need money, always need money. She descends the stairway with an easy gait. Maybe she’s heading to her place. You rise and cross the street and she slowly walks toward you as if she knows you, as if she is going to love you tonight, and she passes arm’s length from your body like a warm breeze off the water. Neither of you look at the other. You turn and follow her. Time has gotten away from you and maybe it’s near midnight. There are still people coming and going on the sidewalk, but few cars. The bars are open and people are laughing and music mixes in the air.
Every time she stops to window shop, you hesitate as well, glancing at the side of her body. Her peripheral vision captures you, without question, only appraisal, and it’s in that way you communicate; and there is mystery in silent voices, on the edges of who she and you are, what you both might become as you march across each other’s skin.
She enters a doorway beneath the Hotel Rio’s blinking sign. The place is run down and a few blocks from the Crazy Horse Bar, which is a rip-off of the Parisian club, but for Central America, it’s good and odd. Two men are hunched over the front desk in the lobby and cello music is coming from a tape deck on a table. You are beginning to believe she is the first stanza of a poem and you are the second. With these sorts of poems the meter is always unexpected and that is what makes them alive as if pure feeling can replace convention upon a white page. Can it?
She nods to the men and walks down a hallway. “Buenas noches,” someone says and you return the greeting. They look at you, but then begin to converse again. She disappears in the dark hallway, but there is one door slightly ajar. Inside is the glow of a light and you push the door open. She stands in the shadows of a small room and you enter and close the door. She holds one finger up to her lips and shakes it from side to side. You freeze for a moment and then she signs something in the air. You make a face as if to say, “I can’t do that,” and you move one finger up to your eye and then point toward her. She smiles and softly walks upon leaves, extending her hand. She presses down upon your chest and looks into your eyes and she can feel your heart pounding as the blood writes verse in real time…and so it does, as silence enfolds the room.