Sitting on the veranda with her coffee cup, Her grey hair braided up,
The lonely lady Carmen turns her eyes up
To her ancestral hills, where gold is green, Where rainforest rivers stream serene,
And every painted bird, perched high, unseen,
Announces the approaching twilight. Clouds ignite in dying light.
The crone takes in the vista in calm delight.
Counterclockwise with her spoon
She stirs her cup, invokes the moon,
And clears her throat to reverse the afternoon.
With wind the witch calls wistfully,
Pale ghosts from their tranquility—
In the tropic breeze, insects raise their symphony.
By midday sun her husband comes;
He sits by her, twiddles his thumbs, Leans in and smiles, blushes, softly hums,
“Remember when we sat that time… Beneath the shade…beside the vine… You held your hand entwined in mine?”
“I do,” she says, and holds her stare
And keeps him there with silent prayer
While her fingers ripple through newly jet-black hair.
The searing sun draws sooner still,
Drawn back by her solemn skill,
Her mother’s shade comes down the dreamy hill
To stroke the young girl’s marble cheek;
Behind her loved ones sneak—
Advancing slow—like white-robed faithful march at Holy Week.
Standing on her baby feet
Ecstatic in that tropic heat
She smiles, greets—content, she lets her spell retreat…
She sips her cup and sits back down
In her tattered night-black gown
To watch the sky—at last, the melting sun goes down.
Kissed by the sky’s vermillion fire
And grateful for the world entire,
Old Carmen feels the valley’s hushing breath expire.