Downpour

We all have a pair of shoes that call for downpours
the whitest pair
the ones that track in the most from the street

Remember my shoes made of white canvas
You’d stand in them and we were the same shadow
The sole was ripping from the seams
still your foot never touched the ground

Remember them thrown under the bed
in a creaking of boards
Their mouth swallowed the evening’s mites
and took in my naked foot
to head for breakfast

Remember how it scared you when old age and grime
hit their fabric
It’s an epidemic – you’d think –
spreading across my foot toward yours
and it all infects us
Grime won’t muddy if memory is clean
old age won’t corrode if memory’s young
what kills isn’t death
what kills is forgetting
So remember washing those shoes
would invite rain and puddle water
to seep into where the sole separated from the seams

Remember jumping to flee the storm
and clearing up in the sheds
Your feet stood on tiptoes on my shoes
so a kiss might exist under our umbrella
Remember
today it’s raining
and it’s nighttime
and you’re not with me
We’ll be distance
we’ll grow old
but our age will always be the one we had in our last memory

I rescued my shoes when you exiled them to the closet
They run against yours and no one was alone
laid still below yours and both of us were safe and sound
because waters won’t rot if memory is clean
nights won’t smudge if memory’s clear
you already know what kills
remember
today it’s raining
and it’s nighttime
and you’re far away
and you don’t name me
like my shoes
name downpours. 

Translated by Olivia Lott

Languages

LALT No. 4
Number 4

The fourth issue of LALT highlights underrepresented but deserving voices from across Latin America, with a focus on women writers as well as special sections dedicated to genre-bending science fiction, indigenous-language poetry and prose, and the essential relationship between author and translator.

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