Poetry Issue 23

ISSUE 23 : JANUARY-JUNE 2017

Louyzza Maria Victoria Vasquez

This Morning

Whenever he sees cows, he moos.
He is learning language; I am learning
it’s home. He plays, makes sounds
that are perfect and understandable
to him. I am trying to make sense of
everyday news—the world in a video:
human mother and baby found dead,
trampled on by a young elephant
lost and scared. Instead of running
away, the animal uses his trunk,
gets some twigs and dried leaves,
covers the mother first, then the little one
until people arrive.

My child takes my phone, watches how he
blows a candle on his first birthday,
waves his arms, dances.
He is listening on repeat the song everyone
sings to celebrate this special day.
To him it is just another baby.

He does not see himself yet, not looking over
his shoulder at ominous sounds: firecrackers,
motorbike, dogs barking, shuffling of feet, the
door latch. Ten years ago, he does not see me
afraid to go inside a funeral home, face people,
stare at what’s beyond coffin glass.

Still, we are both watching and some days
I would rather he stays in that space of
not knowing the words for which. Sometimes I
am more comfortable with a loss of words.
Sometimes, it is better not to know
there is a loss.

The baby has stopped waving. He is saying
bye-bye all the time now, to everyone,
even when newly arrived.