The Sound Of One Immigrant Clapping

By Adrian Castro

—after Czeslaw Milosz Let’s say he actually did not arrive on a boat— that the relentless colonel never found his subtle throat hidden under the trance of the clave or thunder hands that spoke repiques of those crimes Let’s say he went to Nueva York on the assumption Mario Bauzá Machito or Tito (Rodríguez or Puente) could make his legs & hips move in a constellation of joy Let’s say he merely tried to hear the echo of his arms flapping through a factory like a red rag fastened to that fan Let’s say the cold often froze his vowels tan Caribeña tan resualosa y mermelada— Could the immigrant even mute the melody of his tongue— They say it is silence that makes music But this will be like drumming on a distant tuft of cloud like the colonel cutting the sound he never found But it takes years of forgetting for a stranger to breathe the saltwater or glance at a pile of stones & say I arrived through this portal This is now my home . . .

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