Ghazal for a Tall Boy From New Hampshire
For Jim Foley, journalist beheaded on video by ISIS, August 19, 2014
The reporters called and asked me: Did you know him?
I was his teacher, I said many times that day. Yes, I knew him.
Once he was a teacher too, teaching in another mill town
where the mills have disappeared. There, they knew him.
He taught the refugees from an island where the landlords
left them nothing but their hands. In Spanish, they knew him.
They sounded out the English, made the crippled letters
walk across the page for him, all because they knew him.
He ate their rice and beans, held their infants, posed with them
for snapshots at the graduation. Ask them how they knew him.
Beliza, Mónica, Limary: with him they wrote a poem of waterfalls
and frogs that sing at night, so he could know them as they knew him.
We know his words turn to rain in the rain forest of the poem.
We cannot say what words are his, even though we knew him.
His face on the front page sold the newspapers in the checkout line.
His executioners and his president spoke of him as if they knew him.
The reporter with the camera asked me if I saw the video his killers
wanted us to see. I muttered through a cage of teeth: No. I knew him.
Once he was a tall boy from New Hampshire, standing in my doorway.
He spoke Spanish. He wanted to teach. I knew him. I never knew him.
A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.