La Clave

¡La clave, la clave! ¿Cuál es la clave?

I recognize your accent
syncopated rhythms I have spoken only in memory

Tengo el teléfono descargao, ¡descargao!

and wonder how you landed here on a Monday afternoon
in July, at a Starbucks in Virginia

Mi teléfono, no se carga, ¡no sirve!

amid eyes like pools, pond surfaces
disturbed by the fallout of mind shrapnel

I talk broken English, broken Spanish

settling into the rustle of turning pages, or the smooth screens of laptops
as you sit, at each table of shifting eyes crossing legs

I think you got the wrong computer there!

Inevitably, you reach me, kneel at my feet,
A supplicant Don Quixote, serenading

Mujer Hermooosa… ¡La clave! ¿Cuál es la clave?

While I, mujer hermosa, educada y fina
stand, wish you buena suerte, and walk away

Hace falta muchos años para conseguir la paz…
What happened? What happened?

untethered, unable to bear your voice
and the mirror you hold up to my face

Rosie Prohías Driscoll

A Lamentation for the Test Taker
Breaking Open the Word