De noche, en una ventana

The pastel houses outside my window fade to dusk.
I’ve slouched over the years
down Scotland’s corbie steps,
Spain’s roofs flattened with the plas of rain,
through the North East’s penned-in gardens
to settle          precarious
on the south’s edge.
La Iglesia del Buen Varón casts a greying shadow over sloping Britain;
its rough walls still hold the echo of processions.
Imágenes de mi tierra, mi pueblo,
más esencial que    “home”    y poblada de
gente que no sé si serán jamás mi gente.
We moved to a house the strange yellow of sunlight through glass
in a village whose name I only later learnt to pronounce:
Hoyos con una ‘h’ silenciosa
with women sitting in the street haciendo bolillos.
Newborn lace
creeps over pillows
stung deep with pins.
I dreamed of making lace as ‘bollilos’ rolled
explosively off my tongue, new language’s unfamiliar taste.

There is a peculiar obscurity to being awake in the long dark hours.
Here, I travel:
driven towards, drawn out, reaching back
to clasp an origin story of people who will never be mi gente
and places which will never be mi pueblo
wishing customs could come easy to me
held down like fresh lace by the threads and pins of shared culture.
But if this is stasis
I sense I must move on
to find home in freedom.

The falling darkness and the pane of glass
throw back at me a reflection
slowly crystallizing.
I see puzzle pieces of the past:
Loughatorick, StAndrews, Ceres, Blebo Craigs,
Granada, Mérida, Hoyos.
My dreams have rough edges and my ideas
float in distance:

Uruguay, Chile, Costa Rica perhaps.
Back come the cicadas and ochre dust of childhood
the flow of language ronroneando eres tan largas
and the lace escapes the pins.
It has the shape of a woman
and she has a voice: ‘viaja, viajera’.

Freya Marshall Payne