Portugal visto por escritores estrangeiros
by Kimberly Nunes
I am in my hotel room writing poetry
and Antonieta comes in.
It is Sunday and I wonder why
we can’t skip today.
I would make my own bed
or leave it undone - yet
I like how she stacks pillows, rolls
towels, turns the edge of the throw.
Stripping sheets, now, I pantomime
quickly from the desk across the room:
You don’t do that every day, do you?
There’s the water, her labor, but mostly
I like my scent on the sheets -
how a bed becomes a flower.
She signs back
with a rolling hand, and creased brow:
only, every few days.
And now…(why do I need to feel better?)
In the bathroom, I hear
breaths and sniffs as
she sprays the cleaner, squeak-wipes
the mirror. Pretty and blonde,
the odor of her cigarettes
as she lugs linens and bottles of water.
Sometimes, the breathing
sounds like crying, some days
she snaps her gum.
Was she out dancing last night
or home - where is?
She points at my cup,
old with milky foam crust:
may I take it?
Arranges clean port glasses,
a replenished bowl of raisins,
refills the carafe -
we each say and
I wave as she backs away,
pushing buckets and vacuums
into the hall,
where I hear her sneeze
and happy her phone rings.
A scent of orange through the window
when I stand to cross the room,
to hang the schhh sign on the knob, to return
to my last line - something of
purple avenues with marble sidewalks,
how in Lisbon -
Jacaranda flowers swirl.
by Kimberly Nunes
Having lived a life from farm to city, and a lot in between, Kimberly Nunes holds an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. With a bachelor’s in French and three master’s degrees that span business to fine art, she has taught courses at the college level, worked in business in New York City, raised her children and volunteered for myriad philanthropic projects. Born in the Salinas Valley, she is committed to place, people and “these spirits who inhabit our spaces.”