Returning to a Moment

By  |  September 4, 2018
Photo by Cory Gazaille on Unsplash Photo by Cory Gazaille on Unsplash

None of this surprises you now, 
does it? I’m not sure I can know that, 
I responded to myself. 
Or I think I did. 
I should have. 

A friend told me to embrace 
my disorientation here, to attend 
to it and dwell in that state, make it 
a daily practice, like walking, 
like drinking coffee. 

I’ve walked through this city 
countless times these last five months. 

Months ago, I couldn’t 
distinguish Bulnes from Pueyrredón, 
prostitutes from neighbors on Córdoba.

I was learning to walk 
through the nuances of this city. 

Everything has changed: 
I push into the subte; my wife 
still can’t buy tampons, women
think protest will change 
something; hope, that lingering 
scent jasmine blooms on a warm day, 
but it dissipates 
and I forget it ever existed. 

I was surprised 
when my friend told me she had cancer. 
I thought then 
I’d never not think of her. 

Tonight Buenos Aires is a protest
in response to a recent murder: 
a 14-year-old girl, pregnant, killed 
by her 16-year-old boyfriend and buried 
with his parents’ help in their backyard. 

NiUnaMenos, Not One Less. 

I haven’t thought of my friend 
for the last month. 
Maybe I’ve misplaced her, 
like astonishment 
that once joined me on my walks. 

Can we always dwell inside 
an unsettled state? 

Early on I thought of her 
as I explored. The night
I wrote her, her partner 
responded, My heart’s heavy. 
I have to tell you Jackie died last Friday. 

Death, I expected hers . . . 
but I thought I’d see her again, 
have an opportunity to tell her
about surprises here losing luster. 

I don’t know which way 
to turn, how to understand 
this. I had a stone 

I was going to give her, but 
I threw it into a pond and watched 

the undulations calm, 
erase the evidence 
every ripple. 


Curtis Bauer is the author of two poetry collections, most recently The Real Cause for Your Absence. He is also a translator of poetry and prose from the Spanish; his publications include the poetry collections Eros Is More by Juan Antonio González Iglesias and From Behind What Landscape by Luis Muñoz. He teaches creative writing and comparative literature at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.