(por el espíritu de poesía en Medellín, Colombia)
As if the earth had shifted axis again
I walk the streets of your city, Medellín,
a hammock of memories swinging in my head –
these streets where Escobar’s ghost still dwell.
At the market-square, between the flowing
symphony of sun and rain, I sample
the bribery of coffee poured
from flasks into little plastic cups;
Pure Colombian gold I’m told.
In return I buy an indigenous looking
T-shirt, sliced mangoes,
shiny avocados of my childhood.
But the people’s desire for poems,
the people who listened to our utterance
against the Andean elements –
thunder, lightning, rain –
And my own bouts of pan-pipe sickness
for a continent I’d lost
despite the richness of English –
Where did that come from?
I want to bridge this gap of tongues
between us, Medellín. I want to hear
my voice rolling like a river over
the Spanish syllables of your question;
Sí, estoy muy, muy, contenta.
from Passport to Here and There, Bloodaxe Books, 2020
Poem chosen by Emilia Mirazchiyska