The Last Battle
(On The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes)
We're at the window, looking over
the battle's dead, laid out like a feast
for you. You've been staring long.
When will the next rebellion come?
How much time has passed? I ask. No
time, yet centuries, you say, for you see
already your fortress crumbling,
stone walls turned to dust, hooved
with the fury of horses, of soldiers
riding to some new war; yet you hear,
too, the small cry from a child's bed,
you, once nursed in a white-washed room.
How yesterday and tomorrow blend ,
you say, but I am deafened by each
battle's shrill resolve and can't move
past this moment. Can we ever know
this time that is passing? For you, we exist
all at once, but I'm like those chickens
loosed from their pens, scratching up
dust between the bodies. I am frantic
with each second to move on from here.
Down in the yard, the beggars come
to pick. You turn away and shed
your coat. I don't think you have
the stomach for causes anymore.
Where does desire lie in your spectrum
of stillness? Where is change?