|La luz del paraíso|
Photo by Triunfo Arciniegas
Raising our glasses, smilingly
we wish one another not luck
but happiness. After half a lifetime
with and without luck,
we know we need more than luck.
It makes no difference that we're drinking
tomato juice, not wine or whiskey -
we know what we mean,
and the red juice of those virtuous
vegetable-fruits is something we both enjoy.
I remember your wonder, as at a miracle,
finding them growing on sturdy vines
in my old aunt and uncle's sun-room
ripe to pluck at the breakfast-table!
We were twenty-three, and unappeasably hungry...
We agree on tomatoes, then-and happiness?
yes, that too: we mean growth, branching,
leafing, yielding blossoms and fruit and the sharp odor
We mean knowing someone as deeply,
no, deeper, than we’ve known each other,
we mean being known. We are wishing each other
the luck not to need luck. I mill
some pepper into my juice, though,
and salt in the ancient gesture; and what would be wrong
with tipping out half a glass
for the gods?
After these months of pain we begin
to admit our new lives have begun.
“The Freeing of the Dust”
New Directions Publishing, 1975.