Two Poems
 
by Joseph Somoza

   
Paradise

A bird of paradise
flowers before my eyes
that earlier
was hidden by a shoot
I lopped off trying
to make the yard trim
for our visitors
from the east—
our ragged, desert yard
that’s mostly sand,
except for
locust, mulberry, and
apricot trees that,
already in April,
have grown a green
canopy
to lay down a carpet
of shade
where Jill now walks
looking for more ways
to trim the edges.
 In The Midst Of It
 
When he says, in 1951, “the wind
has blown all the trees down,”
he doesn’t mean all.  He’s saying
he’s here, where the wind blows
among yellow cabs, and the sky,
where you see it, probably looks
not that different from now,
though some buildings
must have been demolished, re-built,
roads re-surfaced, and the faces
are not the same faces,
glanced quickly in passing
so as not to send the wrong signal,
a moment’s error as one missteps
on the uneven sidewalk he hasn’t even
noticed he’s walking on,
as display windows blur by,
or the colors of sweaters and jackets
on people, because it’s cold out,
and damp from the river and waterways
textures the air people are breathing,
in or out, depending, as they think
about where they’re going,
while at the same time feeling
they’re here,
all together, as one.

Joseph Somoza retired from college teaching (New Mexico State U.) a while back to have more time for writing. He has published ten books and chapbooks of poems. He lives in Las Cruces with wife Jill, a painter.