after James Wright
NUMBER ONE: WATCHING A PIGEON REENACT THAT SCENE FROM TAXI DRIVER
IN THE WINDOW OF A COFFEE SHOP
Brisking down the sidewalk like a real
New Yorker, he pauses at the floor
length glass on the corner as if someone
behind the window had just hurled
an insult at his mother, taken aback
by the audacity of his reflection,
insulted by its mimicry, its dared
familiarity. His head swivels
suspiciously. Well I’m the only
one here. Yes, I am
sitting alone again, pining
for the touch of human language.
I’m the only one here.
NUMBER TWO: SELF PORTRAIT WITH WHATEVER MAN, I DON’T KNOW
Beneath the bookstores closed sign
a blackbird, forlorn little nerd,
hopelessly chirping into the cold.
Reflected in the closed bookstores
frosted window: me. Shut Up.
NUMBER THREE: FOR THE SHRIEKING CARDINAL AT MY WINDOW WHO I HATE
Loud little bloodstain
on the morning’s blue backdrop,
ruining my view,
ruining my morning
with his stupid mating call.
My upstairs neighbor
leans out of his open window
to say aww, he’s looking for love.
Man, me too.
But you don’t hear me
crying about it.
Ariel Francisco is the author of the forthcoming All the Places We Love Have Been Left in Ruins (Burrow Press, 2024), Under Capitalism If Your Head Aches They Just Yank Off Your Head (Flowersong Press, 2022), and A Sinking Ship is Still a Ship (Burrow Press, 2020), and the translator of Haitian-Dominican poet Jacques Viau Renaud’s Poet of One Island (Get Fresh Books, 2024) and Guatemalan poet Hael Lopez’s Routines/Goodbyes (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022). A poet and translator born in the Bronx to Dominican and Guatemalan parents and raised in Miami, his work has been published in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets, POETRY Magazine, The New York City Ballet, Latino Book Review, and elsewhere. He is Assistant Professor of Poetry and Hispanic Studies at Louisiana State University.