Wednesday, October 21, 2009

When Do We Leave El Salvador?

When do we leave El Salvador?
Do we wait for a certain day
When the sun slides over the shivering leaves
And drips from their green edges like golden teardrops
And the sky itself is so blue as to seem transparent
And the wind is like a constant caress
From the most gentle of lovers.

Or do we leave on a day of storms
When there are gunshots in the distance
When there are large trucks full of black clad killers
Roaming through the shadows
With large heavy machine guns over their shoulders
Looking for their next victim,
Looking for a place to unload their wrath.

Do we leave when the walls have turned to dirt
And the dirt has turned to mud
And the mud has turned to sickness
And we can’t live here anymore
For we are just one step away from dying
And to be a step away
Is worse even than death itself
For it is shivers and pale faces and open eyes
And nights of waking dreams
And days of bright red nightmares.

Or do we wait until we are old
So old that the days themselves have grown shorter
And death is no longer so terrifying
For it has danced close to us so often
That it has become a well known friend,
And our body is slowly turning to dust
Right under our very eyes
And we can do nothing but allow it to enter
And take us where it wants to go,
And look into the distance and wonder
If something else comes later
Anything at all.

Can we ever truly leave El Salvador?
Or do we carry it with us,
Like a stone that we swallowed when we were little
And it refuses to dislodge itself from our loins,
Is it now a part of us
As much as our eyes, our brain, our heart,
Is it so much an element of our nature
That no matter where we go,
There will come a morning of light breeze
And bright clear sunlight
When we will hear the bells of an ice cream cart outside the door
And we will hear the sound of kids laughing in the distance
The sound of feet hitting a plastic ball
The sound of cars turning slowly at the corner
And it will all be so clear as to be blinding
And the clarity will rush up to our chest
And hurt us in a way so strange,
So strange we won’t understand,
So strange we won’t even try to explain,
And the windows will be open
And the doors will be open
And our eyes will be open,
And then we will know
That we never truly arrived,
And we can never truly leave.

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