I Begin the Year Inside a River

Alfredo Aguilar

            For L.V.

            Your arms around me,

And beyond what either of us can see

This stream, steady and reliable,

Meets and pours into an ocean.

I answer to new sugared names:

Cariño, tesoro, beloved. Love —

Forgive me. In youth,

I bound myself to what I knew

Would leave me — Believed that was my worth.

What I wanted most was to share my living

            With another.

Now I wake before

You teeter out of bed sleep worn.

I grind coffee, boil water,

Measure dark grounds spoonful by spoonful.

This is how everything is built —

Cup after cup — Kiss after kiss —

I am making you a promise.

This is all I know of devotion —

That you will find me

Always at this blue hour

Waiting for you.

That I will curl up

Beside you in our bed — Be a single ear

Feeling your quiet and whirring sleep.

That in your fever,

I will bring you a blanket, cool clear water —

Rub salve on the soles of your feet and slip

Pink marl socks over them.

That I will keep flowers in the vase

Of our small home because, yes, its true —

Not only the dead

Are deserving of blossoms.


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