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An evening in Kifissia, a taverna
after the botanical garden,
now more than thirty years ago,
the nightingales, hundreds,
the sound of nightingales through it all.
And me feeling terribly alone.
Ten years later, walking with my new wife
through the teeming streets of Tokyo,
the convocations of jungle crows,
loud, rude, but sounding
happy, happy as I was—
for a little while…
Then, ten years ago, my wife
feeding sparrows at her feet
in a Buenos Aires plaza, speaking
softly of my life after her death
by cancer. So much grief in me
that I found no question
and no answer. She laughed and said,
“You’ll have to find yourself
a hottie,” and fed
the bird on our table and it hopped
right into her hand. “You see?”
she said. “Love is everywhere.”
After years of mourning,
I was awakened one dawn
to the sound of doves
above the empty streets of Paris.
Grown old, infirm, I felt
my heart grow young again,
remembering there is
so much meaning to touching
a hand, a cheek, across a little table,
what it means to speak
intimately of cities and streets,
to tell of how the sparrows eat
in Buenos Aires, and how,
in Kifissia, the nightingales sing
away my grief. While she I barely knew
made coffee, singing softly,
I said nothing
while I thought these things.
Copyright 2018 The Estate of Sam Hamill. From After Morning Rain published by Tiger Bark Press. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the publisher.