glad we could talk, my students came and enjoyed it—

later, i read some poems with Kenji Liu and Angela Peñaredondo

at the Kaya Press tent, and afterwards went round and caught

your reading at the poetry stage, where I saw the call

and response of “187 reasons mexicanos can’t cross the border”

caused passersby to stop in their tracks, turned their heads; they

drew forth under the trees to see what you were delivering

from the stage. this was before you closed, zapateando.

i should have joined you when they took you to sign books.

it started sprinkling, as it had been on and off all day

and like i had been, i was thinking about the lean girl,

my student who died two weeks ago, swept out by a wave

at santa monica beach, in sight of the pier and surely crowds

of hundreds of people on an ordinary saturday afternoon,

drowned. now there’s nothing to say about it, nothing to be done,

so i wandered through the tents, looking at the booths

full of books and booksellers, writers and readers, and

when i figured that we maybe still had time to talk,

i went back to “the green room” but i couldn’t locate

you—i did a circuit, walking through the crowd and the tents

in the off and on again drizzle, talked to David Shook

at Phoneme Books, bought his translations from the Zapotec,

i guessed soon you’d have minders escorting you onstage

at the award ceremony, though i could have let loose

the dogs of metaphor or raised a figurative hue and cry

as of metonymy, but let the mist in the air settle as it may.

thanks for the hour or more. let’s talk again! maybe

i’ll see Fresno, capital of poetry. hi to Margie!

dirigible poster

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