Selected Poems from Chile

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valparaiso

Way to School

Maybe if I don’t wear a coat, spring would come faster

No, it’s too cold

Running down the hill, momentum taking control

Maybe it can push me all the way to school, but not really

Students in uniforms, Nanas with grocery, Cars slowly moving

The cold air is sharp, almost piercing

Metro Station Crowded. Steamy hot. Instant Sweat.

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

Maybe I could walk to school today if I had two extra hours

Door opens. No room to stand. Even warmer. Foggy windows.

Push myself against the side. Wishing I could walk to school

Feels like I’m back in New York, except

the ocean

Door opens. More people come in. Nobody leaves.

Great.

It’s the fish market. Feel the freshness. Know it by scent.

2 people leave. 20 come in.

It’s the poet, the guitarist, the singer, the storyteller

free show every morning

Wish I had walked to school.

Hey, do I know you?

Probably, but no eye contact. Too crowded

Finally, people leave. So am I.

Maybe I can walk home today, but not really.


Playa

Vamos a la playa

Vamos a la playa

no, it’s cold, it’s windy, it’s winter

Too beautiful to resist

No beach towel, no bathing suits, no sunblock

Just sweater, scarf, gloves, coat, winter boots

wind blowing, waves dancing, dogs barking, children laughing

couples kissing, cold air lingering, cars honking, birds prancing

we’re shivering. Does not feel beachy, yet estamos en la playa

water glistens under the fading sunlight, so temptingly inviting

socks off, boots off, coat still on, feeling the salt wash over our feet

Definitely not summer.

Gone is the ability to feel, to walk, and to reason

Ice enters feet, up the legs, into the midriff, out as a sneeze, a cough

No regrets, excited to feel the ocean, the glacier

of course, sunset over the beach, indescribable

Getting home with wet feet, greeted by worried mama, typical

By: Sihua Qiu

 

Sihua Qiu is a student at Barnard College and studied abroad with IFSA-Butler on the Chilean Universities Program, Valparaiso, in 2012.

Article by Sihua Qiu