Jon Pineda


Cinque Terre

Between the train's long slide and the sun
ricocheting off the sea, anyone
would have fallen silent in those words,
the language of age in her face, the birds
cawing over the broken earth, gathering near its stones
and chapel doors. In the marina, the sea and its bones
have grown smaller. Though the tide is out,
it is not the tide nor the feathers nor the cat
that jumps into the street, the dust
lifting with each wing and disappearing. The rust-
colored sheets that wrap the sails of ships,


We thought nothing of it, he says,
though some came so close to where we slept.

I try to see him as a boy,
back in the Philippines, waking

to the sound of machine guns.
His family would spend their morning

spreading a paste over the sores
of the house’ s thick walls.

He tells how he touched
points where bullets entered,

his fingers, he says, disappeared into the holes,

as if inside there existed a space
where everything from this world could vanish.