Sunday City Heartbeat

Just before five,
the heavy doors
of the cathedral

In the Plaza Bolívar*
boys play baseball,
hitting the green tennis ball
with bare hand.
running from this spot
to that there by the metal-
picket fence & that there.
Other children chase
pigeons, the hollow clop
of their heels upon
Black squirrels leap
from limb to
leafy limb.
Bubbles drift on a
gusty wind, spherical
rainbows shimmering
in a clouded sky.

On the perimeter of the Plaza,
amplified evangelicals preach
the word of their Lord,
Jesus Christ.
Ice cream vendors push
their carts, another man
fills sacks of popcorn,
the cook flame flickering
within his glass case.
In the concrete stalks
a cat’s frozen
In front of the Casa
Amarilla*, couples
dance to the
quiet llanera* voice
of cuatro* & guitar,
of maracas.
On the corner,
a fedora-hatted man
strums to the history
sung by another.

Grey clouds pass
a pall upon the light
of this afternoon
& the people yet here—
children playing
& chasing,
evangelicals clapping
& singing,
couples shuffling
to the heartbeat of
this Sunday city.
Then a light sprinkle
begins to fall,
driving them under
porticos & trees.
Voices silence—
except the cathedral bells
& the preachers.

& in the Plaza, the bronze-
sculptured fountain yet
sprays its water, falling,
mixing with the rain.

* Plaza Bolívar—The main public square in Caracas

* Casa Amarilla—A historic building on the public square

* llanera—a typical music from the plains of Venezuela

* cuatro—a small, guitar-like instrument with four strings

Lorraine Caputo