Knock your elbow against the edge of the door,
the funny bone sends a thrill of shock
right to your brain.
On this hot morning
our eyes knock.
In that instant
In the aftershock keep touching
that electric pain
lean against the doorframe
until our hearts can move again.
On December 19, 1980
Alaíde Foppa went to buy flowers.
Sixty-six years old.
In a cellar, in a bloody cell, in Guatemala,
by the hands of thugs.
I walk by Alaíde’s sweet house in Tepoztlán
refuge from city noise and endless sorrow
Alaída’s house is closed.
embroidered flowers near the sills.
Past the locked iron gate, leaves blow in corners
Now and then, someone, thinking of Alaída, tosses
Thirty years ago I write a poem, lift it to the wind,
Alaíde loved the light of Italian art
Teacher, translator, scholar,
No body. No grave. Not a strand of hair.
Only paper reminds us
but a century after she was born, her words,
Remembered, like Joe Hill, she’s alive as you or me.