San Miguel Nocturn.
It’s two in the morning.
Dogs call out greetings or warnings,
the near dogs hoarse in their excitement,
the far dogs mellow and rounded
in the echoing distance.
What are they saying?
Bright moon like a bowl,
new bitch in the territory,
a whole leg bone today?
All night long they bark and bay
until 4 am when the first
then the second and the third rooster crows.
Someone throws a handful of grain
and the chickens cluck like popcorn
in a finally hot pan,
waking the city which only
seemed to sleep.
The lobby steward, waiting
for the last guest to enter,
nods at his post,
t.v. static charging the air around him.
The guard by the gate waits
for the honk of a horn.
A woman crouches
over a pad of paper in the bathroom
so as not to awaken her friend.
Her pen scratches as hens scratch
in the dirt of the yard below her window.
The friend’s almost imperceptible
snores are a counterpoint to the music
of the first cars
accelerating up the cobbled hills.
New sounds build the symphony:
the slam of a car door,
footsteps on the stairs,
water in the pipes.
A city’s wide morning yawns
clash and reverberate
in the still darkness
as dogs bark like a hammer
building the new day.
San Miguel de Allende, 2002. Click on any of the last 5 photos to enlarge all.
This old convent, converted into a hotel, is where I have always stayed when I go to San Miguel. Bob and I stayed there just months before his death. This poem was written a few months later when I revisited our favorite places in San Miguel with a friend. That is what this poem was written. To see the poem that I wrote that night, go HERE.