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FLORENCIA VARELA

Touch

There was a fight at the train station last night,
            two men in baseball caps
swung their arms around each other,
            curled their hands into fists and dove
into the pit of a mouth, stomach, groin.

Everybody watches; if lights were off
            it would seem like lovers embracing
after years apart. Driven distant
            by family, war, god.

Their necks snapped back,
            one of them kicked the otherís face into the ground
moans bounced off each otherís breaths.
            On nights with beer in brown paper bags
and the roar of the Hudson echoing down the train tracks,
            this is the only way we know how to touch.

A girl sits in her room, pretty. Pink pinstripes fall
            down the walls. The mirror tells her the story
of bruises on her cheek, arm, back. The marks of family,
            of what love can mean when the glass
of a picture frame shatters at her face.

            In Amsterdam, two bicycles collided in front
of Anne Frankís house. The wheels spun into each other,
            the handlebars twisted into the street,
a metal braid of Dutch cries and insults
            under the glare of the houseís windows.

What do we know of holy land, if even there
            hard palms and fangs are the only way we speak?
The 6 oíclock news blares of Baghdad nightmares,
            more troops move across the ocean
as if only machine guns and plastic
            body bags could hold us together.

            Someone wrote in red spray paint
on the walls of Westminster Abbey, Damn
            all who enter here.
Tourists take pictures
with disposable cameras. A family poses
            next to Newtonís tomb, sways to the beat
of morning bells. Something to take home, show others.

            Back home, the mother shows pictures of the Thames,
Buckingham and the red letters. Smiles over coffee, tea
            Tomís coming home, the war
will be over soon,

            as the used camera lies at the bottom
of the garbage can, asking which war.



Florencia Varela was born in Buenos Aires in 1986. She currently lives in upstate New York where she studies Creative Writing at Binghamton University. Her work has previously appeared in Paterson Literary Review, First Time Magazine (UK), Allegheny Review and North Central Review. (plastilinik@yahoo.com)



Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761