I came from winter in the north to summer
in the south. Does that follow?
The plaza turned pink with flowers
as though a goddess were expected by evening.
I waded through the pools of perfume
and passed the empty steakhouse
where two busboys were kissing
on a table full of folded napkins.
Time had begun again.
A crowd gathered at the city limits: women on foot
and a brown girl-cow dragging her rope in the foul
crook of the curb. The flat bone between her eyes
shone like a plate of copper in the sun. The border
patrolman waved her back with his knife: If you enter
you will die. He let a truck crammed with children pass.
The river-smell did not reach the provincias, and my eye could not reach
the other side of the river, so the river became the sea—
both were crossable in those modern times.
I dreamt I took a train to the provincias,
then I took one upon waking—does that follow?
When I arrived I saw the girl-cow
behind a wire fence. The patrolman was gone.
I held my hand out for her wet nose
and enormous tongue. We couldn’t touch,
but I could say: If you enter
you will not die. They want to save you
for the slaughter. If you enter,
you will not die.
Carina del Valle Schorske is a poet, translator, and essayist based in New York City. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Acentos Review, Boston Review, and Colloquium, among other venues. She is the MacDowell Colony's 2013–2014 Isabella Gardner Fellow in poetry.
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