Christian Baldomero

It is snowing in your country

I am looking out the bus window playing
River by Joni Mitchell. It is snowing there,
you sent me pictures of cobblestoned streets,

of you and your lover, four degrees cold, you
say. Meanwhile the trees are green as ever here
in my country. The children chase the chickens

and the sun trails off behind them. A mother
is picking green mangoes from the trees and
the men are drinking rice wine by the road.

The river runs smoothly, slowly painting the dry
rocks, while the stray dogs are swimming with
the catfish. The farmers are resting in their huts

beside the sleeping water buffalos. But it don’t snow
here, Joni sings, it stays pretty green. What do I know
of winter? I ask the rice fields of my country,

of snow? I only know of birds and trees and wishful
thinking. I know only of cold. I wish it snows here.
I wish you are here. In the prairies beside me lying

in the lush dry grass, laughing, and it is summer.

There is a boy in the island

The boy tells you what white is in his native tongue?puti, like sand,
like your skin, like the cobblestoned boulevards you have back home.
You tell him there?s something about this island. You do not know
what it is exactly, but you tell him it?s like home. He says this is home.

You are riding a scooter forty miles per hour and the boy is behind you.
You feel his bare thighs touching yours and yours touching his. He tells
you something, but you can?t hear it, not with the winds against your ear
but you laugh anyway. He leans in closer now, his breath against your
damp neck shouting: look at the sky. Then you see it. The Milky Way.

The boy takes you to a moonlit boulevard. Both of you are barefoot
and the sand feels soft and coarse and breathing. You place your foot
right where his just left, right foot then left then right. He tells you this
is where the locals eat and drink and sing. Then the boy sings for you,
he glides through the song like you would through September waves.

You are singing now. La Mer. The Sea. With the accent of your father
and your father?s father. La mer a des reflets d?argent. The sea shimmers
with silver. The boy doesn?t understand a single word. But he sings
with you anyway. In his eyes the moon, almost pulling you, looking
at your lips, mimicking its foreign waves, to your eyes, pulling and
receding, you are the wave ebbing from his mere sight. And you drink
San Miguel from a single glass, from the rim where his lips just touched.

You are beside the boy, and it?s almost night time and everything is blue
and you?re leaving tomorrow before the island wakes up, before he
wakes up and he tells you he loves your blue eyes and the waves
you conjure behind those deep blue orbs when you laugh.
And he means it. But you don?t reply. Instead you
hand him a cigarette, he leans in closer waiting
waiting for you to light it with yours waiting
for you to cup the ember of your cigarette
with your hands and you?re inhaling
and the boy is inhaling and you?re
thinking of kissing him and
you can kiss him but
you don?t.

The boy wakes up. Somehow, he thought,
the island is twice as blue.