Poem 240 ± January 30, 2016

Xavier Cavazos
At the AIDS Clinic

Men with long bones crossed legs &
Bent hands like 1492 transatlantic
Here nobody knows the name of the land
They’re going to   everything could be the West
Indies or at least the West Indies for awhile
Then the first flush of air   like a pilgrimage
Across the great hall of despair   artwork
Holds the walls with dignity   you think
You’re in Seattle but the nurse you Soweto
You ask the doctor your name &
He begs you for bread in Spanish
You try to tell him the time on your watch
Before your lips collapse
All he says   lo siento   lo siento
Lo siento

Xavier CavazosXavier Cavazos is the 1995 Grand Slam Champion of the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, and author of Barbarian at the Gate, selected and introduced by Thomas Sayers Ellis as part of the Poetry Society of America’s New American Poets Chapbook Series (2013) and Diamond Grove Slave Tree (Ice Cube Press, 2015), the inaugural Prairie Seed Poetry Prize from Ice Cube Press. Cavazos teaches at Central Washington University.