I was born in a city that is not Miami
It was a barrio with dirt streets and wandering dog packs

There were grey gracing cows and wooden carts pushed by dingy kids
There were blind, limping beggars and creepy peeping toms in the back yards

There was a canal full of filthy waters and garbage
and small plank houses about to fall apart
There was a paper boy with twinkling shillings in a leather bag
and barefooted girls with warm tortilla baskets on their heads
there was a knife sharpener and a fat bread baker, both on bicycle

There was a neighbor with a slow daughter and a married one
There were hogs playing in the mud and a poet dreaming with Victor Hugo
There were convenience stores brimming with tin toys and candy
and wagons with metal milk containers pulled by a pair of drooling oxen

There were schools for the pauper and a meager Catholic Church
There was the Vatican Embassy surrounded by masonry walls and Mercedes Benzes
and the nearby Pius XII School where I kissed for the first time

I often ask myself what animals my slingshot would have hunt
had I been born in Madagascar
or what games would I have played had some Stevenson replaced José Luis
or what buses would I have raided had the
Metro Paris run by the corner of my house
or what blood moons would I have admired with Amelia
had some Edvika Krüger been my friend instead

I ignore what innumerable destinies I would
have lived inside tired bodies or hostile places
or what arrows nailed my silent chest
or what Arabs cut my right hand

I know this longing stare would accompany me in arduous combat
and all solitary roads in Cairo already took me to Gnosis and Karnak
I know my fingers drew those faint buffaloes in Altamira
and in a remote place of Alpha Centauri Tahor showed me
the Sacred Crystal on which The Spirit revealed to him
the holy secrets of the Cosmic Mind.

A poet, anthologist and translator, Danilo Lopez holds an MFA from the University of Texas-El Paso. He has published 7 poetry collections, the most recent being Dona Nobis Pacem and Extraña Ciudad. He lives in Miami, Florida with his wife Kristabel.

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